photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
As of right now, these are the questions we should all have:
–Will Jack Wilson get his tiger stripes?
–Do we really want to see Jack Wilson in tiger stripes?
–How awesome would it be if we actually got a uniform top that was tiger striped? Not a game alternate, of course, ’cause we don’t need one, but a warmup jersey or something.
Will Jack Wilson get his tiger stripes?
Nobody knows. Earlier today it was reported as a done deal, but by now both teams have denied it and Wilson’s agent claims to have not heard anything. This isn’t a deal that can go down without Wilson hearing about it beforehand, because he has a no-trade clause that apparently includes Detroit, so he would have to sign off on anything before it could go through.
As soon as the definite Wilson-to-the-Tigers rumor was shot down, the Dodgers-want-Wilson rumor started up again. Apparently now that too has been dismissed as false, to the extent that “Dodgers haven’t talked to the Pirates about him in months”. The Tigers and Pirates, however, both admit to actually being in talks; they’re just not, you know, DONE.
It could still happen. We would have to pay him $7.25 million in ’09 and either $8.4 mil or a $600,000 buyout in ’10. That’s a solid chunk of money for a guy who hit WORSE than Edgar Renteria last season (an OPS+ of 77 versus Edgar’s OPS+ of 84).
(I know many of you know this, but for the cats who might not: OPS+ is OPS– on base percentage plus slugging– adjusted for ballpark factors and measured against the league average, which would be 100. Thank you THT!)
The point is that they both sucked at the plate last season, but Edgar, the guy who had us screaming and rending our hair, was actually by some metrics a better hitter. Of course Wilson is supposed to be quite a bit better on defense and cats know we can never have too much good infield defense, but this brings us to the second question, namely
Do we really want to see Jack Wilson in tiger stripes?
Like I said before, it would be a lot of money for a guy who is really no great shakes with a bat– I mean, we’re talking a worse OBP than Edgar almost every single year of his career. You cats KNOW the kinds of problems we’ve had with guys sporting cruddy on base percentages. I am not looking forward to ADDING to that particular aggravation.
Then we come to the injuries. Wilson had a few of ’em last season: a strained calf, shoulder tendonitis, and a broken finger. Obviously I’m not too worried about the broken finger, and the strained calf shouldn’t be a big deal (especially since it happened back in April), but I do NOT like shoulder tendonitis. Wilson is going to be 31 in 2009, which is not incredibly elderly, but it’s definitely one of those ages where you have to start raising your eyebrow a bit at repetitive stress injuries.
I know that, ideally, he would only be around for a year, maybe two if the minor league kittens are taking their sweet time. His contract is perfect in that sense: a guaranteed year plus a buyout option year is pretty much exactly what we want. And, yeah, OK, he’d be cheaper than Edgar, who made $10 million last season and just signed in San Francisco for $18.5 mil over two years. But $7.25 mil is still a lot for a guy who would essentially be a defensive specialist.
He’s also spent his entire career in the Pirates organization (well, minus a few low-minors seasons in the Cardinals system). In the National League. Just for the record.
So, no, I really pretty much DON’T want him. I understand that we may end up with him, and there may not have been much alternative (Ramon Santiago at short, as much as I joke about it, is not really a viable option). But I don’t have to like it.
And as for the third question…
How awesome would it be if we actually got a uniform top that was tiger striped? Not a game alternate, of course, ’cause we don’t need one, but a warmup jersey or something.
ETA: Just a quick edit to note that Khalil Greene signed with the Cardinals. Uh, I guess in case anyone was still thinking about him.