Craig Wilson Rumors

Craig Wilson, Cubs Bullpen, and More

Today seems to be a bit of a slow day on the trade rumors front.  I’m still working on gathering some Tejada info.  For now I’ll just say that you shouldn’t discount the White Sox even after both major Chicago newspapers quoted Kenny Williams saying no deal will happen.  As commenters in this thread pointed out, Williams has been known to keep a low profile and be less than forthright when talking to the media.

Somehow, a rumor came about yesterday that San Francisco’s KNBR 1050 was reporting that the Pirates had dealt Craig Wilson to the Athletics for Kirk Saarloos.  This rumor appears to have been fabricated; it doesn’t seem that the radio station ever proposed it.  KNBR didn’t return my emails, but I’m still pretty sure there’s nothing to the rumor.  It’s not implausible, as Billy Beane is the type of GM to acquire an undervalued player and worry about his outfielder surplus later.  I don’t believe Dave Littlefield’s statements about not wanting to trade Wilson.  He’d be valuable to many teams, and the Pirates’ recent acquisitions indicate that they’ll deal him.

RotoAuthority’s latest:

Jae Seo Projection

Travis Hafner Projection

2006 Fantasy Guide On Sale For $9.99 For A Limited Time

Good readin': 1060west has updated its post about the Cubs’ revamped bullpen.  This quote resonated with me:

"Seen in the light of statistical evidence, it becomes clear that nothing has been done to improve the Cub bullpen from April 2005 to this stage; in fact, if anything, the Cubs have actually gotten weaker in going from Hawkins to Howry and Remlinger to Eyre."

The main point is that Hendry tends to purchase free agent relievers for big bucks following the reliever’s best season.  Not a smart strategy.

The Phillies and Ryan Franklin?  This won’t end well.  I’m just happy to see than Ryan Madson will finally get a shot in the rotation; he’s got a 3.25 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 7.27 K/9 in 166 Major League innings.  High strikeout totals and good control are always a great combo.   

Pirates Interested In Sosa

Emailer Joe tipped me off to a blog referencing an article from a Dominican news service. The article discusses Pittsburgh’s interest in Sammy Sosa.

Despite my pathetic grasp on the Spanish language, here’s what I’ve pieced together from Rob Rossi’s article.

With Joe Randa in tow as the Pirates’ third baseman, they’d like to make one more free agent acquisition this winter.  Now that first choice Eric Byrnes has a tentative agreement with the Diamondbacks, Sammy Sosa is the primary target for right field.  Apparently several teams desire Sosa’s services (I must’ve translated that part wrong.)

The Pirates plan to bat Randa sixth, and they’d like Sosa to hit fourth or fifth in the lineup.  Pirates’ management has the money available to sign Sosa.  As far as I can tell, Rossi thinks the Pirates will be an improved team under the management of Jim Tracy.  The reunion of Sean Casey and Joe Randa and improved defense are key components.

If there are any Spanish-speaking readers who’d like to offer corrections to my translation, I welcome it.

In case the Pirates missed it, Sosa hit a woeful .221/.295/.376 in 380 at-bats for the Orioles in 2005.  It was his worst year since 1991, when he had a wispy mustache and hit .203/.240/.335 in 316 at-bats for the White Sox.  Since I like to point out the hidden positives occasionally, Sosa did manage a .288/.370/.471 line in 104 at-bats against lefties in ’05.  Honestly I think he would’ve made an entertaining platoonmate for Jacque Jones.  Now that would’ve been humbling. 

Anyway, signing Sosa would seem to make Craig Wilson the odd man out in Pittsburgh.  The 29 year-old doesn’t deserve this fate, as he boasts a career line of .268/.363/.488 in 1593 at-bats and can play catcher, first base, left field, and right field.  Expect some team far more intelligent than the Cubs or Pirates to make a deal for Wilson this winter.