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Craig Wilson Rumors
The Mariners acquired Craig Wilson today from the Pirates for a player to be named later.
Hopefully the goal is not to use Wilson at the big league level, as he’s hitting just .230/.327/.396 at Triple A. Wilson had some useful years as a Pirate from 2001-06 though.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the White Sox have signed 30 year-old 1B/LF Craig Wilson to a minor league contract. It was a good move before the Pablo Ozuna injury, but now the need is even stronger.
Wilson, at the least, can probably help the Sox as a lefty-masher. He’s at .290/.389/.527 against them in his career. The White Sox aren’t known for their skills against southpaws; in fact, their .583 team OPS against them is the worst in the AL. Compare that to the Blue Jays, who have an .851 OPS vs. lefties. Oddly, the only member of the team who has hit lefties is the left-handed A.J. Pierzynski, who hasn’t fared well against them in his career.
If they can stomach his glove, the Sox should try Wilson in left field regularly. They’ve gotten a .233/.327/.340 line from their left fielders, collectively. Scott Podsednik may not necessarily provide any offensive lift to the club, but he could be out til July anyway.
First things first – Craig Wilson needs to remember how to hit. He hasn’t had a decent month since June of 2006. Since July 1st of last year, Wilson has hit .200/.263/.325 in 200 ABs for the Pirates, Yankees, and Braves.
According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1B/LF Craig Wilson has cleared waivers and become a free agent. The 30 year-old can be had for the Major League minimum. Some have speculated he might return to Pittsburgh, but so far the team hasn’t contacted Wilson’s agent.
Baseball Prospectus projected a mildly useful .256/.339/.476 from Wilson for 2007, but he was awful for the Braves at .172/.304/.259 in 58 ABs. Based on his BP comparables, Wilson can go in one of two directions to finish out his career: Pete Incaviglia or Glenallen Hill. Hill at least built a nice post-30 career as a 250-350 AB guy with good pop. I’ll never forget some of the home runs Hill hit at Wrigley…click here to read some amusing trivia on him.
Looking at Wilson’s and Thorman’s splits, it might make sense to use Wilson primarily against southpaws and Thorman against righties. This signing may have been in queue for a while, given how quickly it was completed.
According to Roch Kubatko of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles are still in talks with the representatives for Craig Wilson and Aubrey Huff. I assume they only want one of the two, as a team can only hold so many 1B/DH/OF types.
The O’s have previously been linked to Adam LaRoche, Ben Broussard, Richie Sexson, Chris Shelton, and Carlos Pena. They’ve also attended Shannon Stewart‘s workout; there’s speculation he’d be limited to a DH-type role as well.
In his latest update, Will Carroll tell us:
"The Sox are also looking for cheap outfield help as a backup in case tests on Trot Nixon come up with a poor result. There are several names in play, including Craig Wilson, Geoff Jenkins, and Moises Alou. The question here will be price and fit. The Sox, even if Nixon is out for the year, could go with Gabe Kapler and Wily Mo Pena if the price is too high on an acquisition."
My hunch is that the BoSox go with the latter solution, but I’m surprised how little action there has been on Alou.
Let’s run down all the possible trades Dave Littlefield and the Pirates have brewing.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review still has Oakland as the favorite for Sean Casey, a move that makes little sense to me.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette mentions a possible swap of John Grabow for Ryan Shealy. That sounds reasonable.
Dejan Kovacevic’s article also indicates that the Mets and Yankees are leading the charge for Kip Wells. The Yankees also want Craig Wilson and Roberto Hernandez. Wilson and Wells seem unlikely at this point, though, as the Abreu deal looks close.
Columnist Marty York is "one of Canada’s most popular sports columnists with a track record for breaking big stories." Works for me. In yesterday’s column, he tells us that the Blue Jays would like to acquire Craig Wilson by Opening Day.
York mostly disses the team’s interest in Wilson, comparing him to other "slow, white guys who can hit relatively well but who cannot run much and who are so subpar defensively that they have to be hidden at positions where they’re least likely to cause problems." He ignores Wilson’s .363 career OBP in his comparison. That’s the difference, Marty.
He mentions that the Braves, Padres, Mariners, and Indians are also interested in Wilson.
York goes on to report that A.J. Burnett will miss at least the first month of the 2006 season. That’d be a pretty big hit to their staff. This is definitely news to me, as I’d read that the injury was "not serious" and that he’d only miss a week or two.
Sometimes all it takes is an educated guess to put two and two together. Hell, maybe Theo and Dave got the idea from this site yesterday – sort of a GM matchmaker (alright, that’s wishful thinking). But it’s always interesting when speculation turns to real trade talks.
Yesterday I mentioned:
"If the Pirates want Arroyo back, Craig Wilson would be a decent fit given that Youkilis can play third…the Pirates have two vacancies in their rotation but a host of candidates to fill them."
Then today in Rob Rossi’s article for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, he revealed that the Pirates are trying to trade Wilson for a starter, possibly Matt Clement or Bronson Arroyo. For the Bucs, I like the idea. Sure, their offense could use a guy like Wilson, but if they must discard him they should at least solidify the rotation.
A Pittsburgh rotation of Clement/Duke/Perez/Maholm/Snell has a chance to be quite impressive. It might be five guys with ERAs hovering around 4, but that’s actually hard to find when the average NL starter has a 4.22 ERA.
The Red Sox seem to be anticipating an injury for Trot Nixon or a failure by Mike Lowell, and expecting at least one of the two is the safe play. The club needs a player like Wilson, who can handle both right field and first base and has an .851 career OPS.
Assuming the White Sox plan to hold on to Jose Contreras, I think they might have it right. That is, there’s nothing wrong with an overload of starting pitchers. The White Sox shouldn’t expect their front five to be completely healthy and effective once again. Similarly, the Red Sox don’t necessarily have a surplus with Arroyo/Beckett/Clement/Papelbon/Schilling/Wakefield/Wells all capable of starting. Yes, that’s seven pitchers, but three of them are injury risks and Papelbon is unproven.