Friday, December 05, 2008

Jack Wilson?

The Newark Star Ledger reported yesterday that the Tigers had acquired shortstop Jack Wilson. The rumor was denied by both teams shortly thereafter. You can read updates on the potential deal at MLBTR. Reading between the lines, I would guess that there is still a good chance the Tigers will end up with Wilson. However, there is also a chance that it could fall apart. Ken Rosenthal is saying this morning that the Tigers are still making a serious push.

It is believed that the Tigers are trying get the Pirates to eat some of Wilson's salary as part of a deal. Wilson is owed $7.25 million in 2009 and there is a club option for $8.4 million (with a $600K buyout in 2010. Who they would give up would probably depend on how much salary the Pirates would willing to eat. The only player mentioned anywhere in any of these rumors as possibly being swapped to the Pirates is Jeff Larish.

The light hitting Wilson batted just .272/.312/.348 in 87 games last year and is .269/.312/.375 lifetime. His strength is his fielding. Last year, he was 8 plays above average according to PMR and +16 according to the Fielding Bible. His numbers for 2007 when he played a more complete season were also strong. He scored well on the Fan Scouting Report the last couple of years as well.

Wilson missed a lot of time last year with a severely strained calf, shoulder tendinitis and a fractured finger. The two months he missed due to the calf injury was the first time in his eight year career he had ever been on the disabled list though.

It's hard to evaluate a potential deal without knowing who would be given up or whether the Pirates would eat salary. I do think the Tigers need improved defense though and Wilson would do that. There is always a concern that a switch to the American League would hurt him offensively but his career line (.288/.322/.396) in 416 inter-league plate appearances is actually better than his overall record.

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