Will Jack Wilson get his tiger stripes?

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.


8 responses to “Will Jack Wilson get his tiger stripes?

  1. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but, seriously, folks… Edgah just signed with SF, and where else are you going to find a low-cost, low-year option that’s much better than the apparently ageless wonder, Omar Vizquel? Yes, he’ll be 42 years old next year. But we do have Ramon Santiago kicking around and they could share the job. He made $5 million last year. He could probably be had for $4 at this point of his career. And probably on a one-year deal. And he’s a free agent, wouldn’t cost us even a bag of balls or a lefty single-A pitcher or anything like that. Not necessarily the first option, mind you, but something to consider now that Edgah and Khalil Greene are off the radar. Compare him overall to Jack Wilson, and I think he’s worth at least considering.

  2. Adam Everett.
    He’s one of the best gloves in the game, even though he can’t hit, and he’ll be cheap. That improves our IF defense and, by extension, makes the pitching staff better.

  3. Jack Wilson appears to be one of The Undead. I mean, look at him. Definite signs of rot. The cost of refrigeration alone – wait, it’s only badly applied mascara. Never mind. Still… that trance-like, uncomprehending gaze… teeth bared in ghoulish imitation of a smile. I’m afraid he might eat his fellow infielders if not closely monitored.

  4. Samara Pearlstein

    Jeff, I gotta say, the idea of making our already-fairly-old team that much older in one fell swoop scares the tail offa me, and he’d already been declining the past couple of seasons. He would be relatively cheap, I’ll give him that, but that’s all I’ll give him.
    David, I’d be OK with that option, for sure. Again, 31 ain’t exactly a spring, uh, kitten, but it’s not Omar Vizquel old, he’d probably be cheaper than Wilson, and I can live without a bat for that kinda cheap money and that kinda defense. What’s up with those shoulder injuries, though? Kinda freaky.
    Loon, he’s definitely one of the goofier-looking guys in MLB. On a team with Inge and Guillen, that could be downright dangerous. We might reach some critical mass of goofiness.

  5. Ugh, apparently the Pirates want(ed) Joyce AND Larish for Wilson? D:

  6. Joyce and Larish for Wilson? That’s a critical mass of something. I’d give them joyce and Larish for Matt Capps, now. Maybe.

  7. Samara Pearlstein

    The report I saw had them asking after one or other, but not both. I would be OK with trading Larish especially, but man, I would hate to give up young talent for one year of light-hitting Squirrel Boy.

  8. ivantopumpyouup

    Squirrel Boy? That’s an apt description.

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