Jack Wilson Rumors

Quick Hits: Mariners, Slowey, Phillies

Here are some late night links as Thursday turns into Friday…

NL West Notes: Giambi, D’Backs, Ubaldo, Kuroda

The Padres sent Anthony Rizzo back to Triple-A today after he hit just .143/.282/.265 in a 117 plate appearance cameo. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reports (on Twitter) that Kyle Blanks will get called up to take Rizzo's place after hitting a stout .351/.421/.716 in Triple-A. Let's recap the rest of the news out of the NL West…

  • "I'd be shocked if we didn’t make some trades," said Padres GM Jed Hoyer to Marty Caswell of XX1090 Sports Radio (Twitter link). "It'd be foolish not to get some prospects … we’re not in a position to have untouchables."
  • "There's not a lot of starting pitching depth in the trade market that is really appealing to us," said Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert (Twitter links). They are still focused on acquiring bullpen help.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Rockies are drawing interest in Jason Giambi (Twitter link). Giambi's preference is to stay with Colorado, and they will consult him before making a move.
  • The Diamondbacks intend to replace Stephen Drew from within with the likes of Willie Bloomquist, Geoff Blum, and Cody Ransom according Rosenthal (Twitter links). Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hears that Arizona isn't targeting Jack Wilson of the Mariners.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney says (on Twitter) that any move the D'Backs make will be geared towards 2012 as well as 2011. They won't trade prime pieces for rental players.
  • Teams are convinced that the availability of Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez is just a Justin Upton-esque "trial balloon," according to SI.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter). That makes Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers the best pitcher on the market, but he may invoke his no-trade clause.
  • Meanwhile, Rosenthal tweets that Kuroda will decide whether or not to waive his no-trade clause on a case-by-case basis. He won't give the Dodgers a list of teams he'd accept/decline a trade to. MLB.com's Ken Gurnick wrote more on the right-hander's situation.

Quick Hits: Villanueva, Looper, Red Sox, Wilson

As the Giants raise their World Series banner with an assist from the Say Hey Kid, here's some news from around the majors…

  • The Brewers received cash, rather than a player to be named later, from the Blue Jays to complete the Carlos Villanueva trade, reports the team (and passed on by MLB.com's Adam McCalvy).
  • The Cubs aren't considering trying to lure Braden Looper out of retirement, reports ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine.  Looper retired when he didn't make Chicago's Opening Day roster.  With right-handers Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells on the disabled list, the Cubs have a sudden lack of pitching depth, but the team will turn to internal options like Casey Coleman, who will start on Sunday. 
  • The Red Sox got their first win of the season today, but there's still plenty of talk about Boston's slow start.  SI's Tom Verducci thinks there are legitimate reasons for worry, namely that Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka "have to suddenly reverse the downward trends of their careers in their 30s."
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com also questions Boston's pitching, pointing out that barring rebound years from Beckett, Lackey and Matsuzaka, "they’re essentially the same team as the Yankees — terrific offense, deep bullpen, weak back of the rotation."  Rosenthal, however, thinks it is far too early in the season for the Sox and their fans to panic.
  • Jack Wilson asked to be taken out of the Mariners' 7-3 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday, Seattle manager Eric Wedge told reporters today.  Wilson implied that Wedge had removed him from the game, which upset Wedge, tweets Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.  The Twitter feed of the Brock & Salk radio show on 710 ESPN Seattle reports that Wedge described Wilson's actions as "unspeakable" and wouldn't discuss the veteran infielder's status with the club.
  • Pirates right-hander Tyler Yates has a torn flexor tendon in his throwing elbow, reports Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.  Yates hasn't pitched since 2009 due to Tommy John surgery, and Langosch reports that this latest injury might convince Yates to retire, a decision he's already considered earlier in his career.
  • The Diamondbacks are looking at Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Danny Hultzen with the third pick in this June's amateur draft, says Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.  Sources on other teams think this trio will be the first three players taken in the draft, though perhaps not in that order.  Arizona also has the seventh overall pick, and Piecoro notes that the D-Backs' priority with that pick is to draft a player they can sign.  Vanderbilt's Sonny Grey and high schoolers Dylan Bundy and Taylor Guerrieri are some of the players Piecoro hears connected with this pick.   
  • Doug Davis held another workout today, tweets Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.  Five or six teams were present, down from the eight clubs that watched Davis throw two weeks ago. 

Odds & Ends: Marlins, Wigginton, Rockies, Wood

It was on this day in 1905 that Shirley Povich, one of the great sportswriters of all time, was born in Bar Harbor, Maine.  Povich, who passed away in 1998, would've been 105 today and no doubt still would've been keeping an eye on Stephen Strasburg for the Washington Post.

Some news items….

Jack Wilson Thinking About Retirement

Jack Wilson is experiencing doubts about his baseball future after his latest injury, according to Mike McCall of MLB.com. Originally on the disabled list due to a strained right knee, Wilson experienced a setback last week, pulling his right hamstring during a rehab assignment. With no timetable set for his return, the 32-year-old spoke candidly about his frustration:

"This is when you actually look at your career and if it's going to last too much longer," Wilson said. "In reality, there's nothing more that I can do. If it ends up pulling, there's nothing you can do about it. You're out two weeks every time you do it."

Although Wilson's hamstring issues have hampered his durability, his health problems don't appear as serious as those of Eric Chavez, another 32-year-old thinking about retirement because of injuries. Considering Wilson signed a two-year, $10MM deal with Seattle this winter, the slick-fielding shortstop is probably unlikely to call it a career quite yet.

Odds & Ends: Sheffield, Matsui, Darvish

Kicking off a fresh Odds & Ends post for Day 3 of the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis…

Odds & Ends: Lackey, Bay, Matsui, Wilson

Some links to start off your weekend…

  • Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe says the Red Sox are just doing their due diligence by touching base with John Lackey's agent, reminding us that they also spoke to CC Sabathia's and A.J. Burnett's representatives last offseason.
  • WEEI.com's Alex Speier breaks down Joe Urbon's pitch for his client, free agent outfielder Jason Bay.
  • Hideki Matsui acknowledged that he'd be disappointed if he didn't return to the Yankees, according to Anthony McCarron of The NY Daily News. Godzilla says that his agent Arn Tellem is taking care of the situation, but he doesn't think the two sides have had any discussions yet.
  • ESPN's Rob Neyer says that Jack Wilson's defense is definitely worth the $10MM the Mariners gave him yesterday.
  • Steve Slowinski at DRays Bay goes back and evaluates the deal that brought Mitch Talbot and Ben Zobrist to Tampa in exchange for Aubrey Huff.
  • Edgardo Alfonzo still thinks he could be valuable utility player and has two or three years of baseball left, according to The NY Post's Kevin Kernan. The 36-year-old hasn't played in the big leagues since 2006.

Wilson & Zduriencik On New Deal

When the Mariners acquired Jack Wilson this summer, he wasn't sure what to expect. But it didn't take long for him to realize he wanted to play in Seattle for a while. 

"An hour? An hour and a half?" Wilson says he decided quickly.

Now that he has signed with the Mariners, the shortstop will be wearing blue and teal for at least two years. Wilson said he feels great after battling injuries last season. Though he was banged up, he maintained his reputation as a top defender. According to UZR, Wilson was the best defensive shortstop in baseball last season. 

His defense didn't go unnoticed by Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, who admired Wilson's glove when both men were with NL Central teams. 

"Does it fit in to what we're trying to do?" Zduriencik asked. "Absolutely."

The Mariners had the league's best ERA last year thanks, in part, to the strong defense of Wilson, Ichiro, Franklin Gutierrez and Adrian Beltre (whose contract has expired).

Mariners Sign Jack Wilson

4:04pm: Kovacevic confirmed it, the deal is worth $10MM.

3:58pm: Kovacevic says the deal is believed to be worth a total of $10MM.

3:33pm: The Mariners signed shortstop Jack Wilson to a two-year deal, according to a team press release.  Terms were not disclosed, but the sides were said by Dejan Kovacevic to be discussing a deal worth more than $8MM.  Wilson's new deal overwrites an $8.4MM club option for 2010.

Wilson, 32 in December, is renowned for his defensive ability.  In Wilson and Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has acquired two of the game's best defenders at their respective positions in his year with the club.  The Mariners' left-side infield could be a wall if Zduriencik re-signs Adrian Beltre or inks Joe Crede.

Branyan Rejects Mariners’ Offer

WEDNESDAY, 12:06pm: The Mariners' initial offer to Branyan included a second-year option, the first baseman told Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.  Branyan remains optimistic about re-signing, but he wants two guaranteed years for the first time in his career.

TUESDAY, 4:53pm: MLB.com's Jim Street reports that Branyan rejected the team's offer. He'd rather test the free agent market than settle for something less than a two-year deal. Branyan, who hit 31 homers this year, says he would like to return to Seattle. He wants to sign a multi-year deal, however.

Street says Wilson appears to have rejected the Mariners' offer, too.

12:23pm: The Seattle Mariners have extended contract offers to Russell Branyan and Jack Wilson, according to Larry LaRue of the News Tribune.

LaRue does not have specific details on dollar amounts, but adds that the proposal to Wilson is a multi-year deal.

LaRue writes that the team has also engaged in talks with Ken Griffey Jr. though it's still up in the air whether Junior will want to play again in 2010. LaRue doesn't rule out the possibility that the Mariners could retain both Griffey and Mike Sweeney.