5 Teams That May Overpay for C.J. Wilson
C.J. Wilson will be the top pitcher in the free agent market this offseason. Sure, C.C. Sabathia can—and likely will—opt-out of of his contract with the Yankees, but it is just as likely that he will then re-sign with the Yankees for more money.
After Wilson, the top free agent pitchers are mid-rotation starters. While they may help a team that is stacked in the front of the rotation, they will not alter the effectiveness of a rotation.
Roy Oswalt has a $16 million mutual option and Chris Carpenter has a $15 million team option but age and injury history may suppress the market for both of them if they become free agents. Edwin Jackson brings potential, but he has failed to be the front of rotation starter that his potential has promised. Finally, Mark Buehrle may offer a team the opportunity to add a stalwart in their rotation, but he is not exactly a game changer.
Some team is destined to overpay for Wilson. It would not be shocking to see C.J. Wilson get a $100 million deal, spanning six to eight years. Although Wilson has blossomed in the last two years and is likely to be an effective starter for a few more, he is not the ace that he has been held out to be. At the back-end of a large contract, the team that owes him may be regretful.
Here are the top five candidates to overpay for Wilson.
5. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs will surely chase after Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder, but they are not guaranteed either one. The Cubs are also no stranger to handing out over-priced contracts to pitchers—see Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster.
After another disastrous run in 2011, it wouldn't be a shock to see the Cubs reach out and make a run at Wilson if they fail to sign a slugger. He would team up with Matt Garza to provide a righty-lefty punch at the top of the rotation.
In the short-term, Wilson is actually an ideal fit for the Cubs. In the end, however, the Cubs may be burnt on the back-end of the contract just like they are now with Zambrano and Dempster.
4. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers are a contender to win the AL Central this year, but that shouldn't be the case. They should be a lock to win the AL Central. The biggest problem the Tigers have is the depth of their starting rotation.
While C.J. Wilson would solve this problem, you have to wonder if it would be worth the price. Like the Cubs, Wilson and the Tigers are a great fit in the short-term. Wilson could pair with Justin Verlander to become a great righty-lefty duo at the top of their rotation.
Considering the pitching-friendly confines of Comerica Park, Wilson may succeed longer through a contract with the Tigers. However, money is of the essence for any team and tying up $15 to $20 million a year on Wilson may harm the Tigers a few years down the road.
3. St. Louis Cardinals
If the Cardinals do part ways with Chris Carpenter, they need to add a starting pitcher this offseason. Even if they keep Carpenter they could use Wilson, but the money for both is probably not available—especially in light of Albert Pujols's contract situation.
Again, Wilson would be able to team with another dominating right-hander, Adam Wainwright, to form a rock solid front of the rotation—assuming Wainwright's recovery went smoothly.
Of course, with the magic that Dave Duncan works, Wilson's long-term prospects could be way off. The Cardinals may be the best fit for Wilson, as they could get the most out of him through the length of his contract.
2. New York Yankees
How could I not mention the Yankees?
The Yankees have caught some breaks this year with the revitalization of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. However, you can count them out for next year. While those two have been revelations of the positive sort for the Yankees, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes have raised serious questions this year.
Even if the Yankees have their eye on the stacked 2013 free agent pitching class—Cain, Greinke, Weaver, Hamels, Jonathan Sanchez, and Anibal Sanchez, just to start naming names—they could easily chase after Wilson with gaping holes in the two and three spots of the rotation.
1. Texas Rangers
In the end, the team that needs Wilson the most is the Rangers. The real question is, at what price? Although the Rangers need Wilson next year, signing him may hamper them severely in the long-term.
Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando will be back next year. Also, it seems time to bring Neftali Feliz into the rotation and bring Martin Perez up to the Majors. Matt Harrison will be back with the team next season.
Although this rotation could be serviceable and even has the potential to be very good, it is filled with question marks. It lacks someone the Rangers can trust to go out there and be their stick every five days.
But, overpaying for Wilson would not be the solution to the Rangers problem. They are better off taking a chance and seeing how the young pitchers do in the Majors even if that means risking a bad year. This way they can save for the 2013 free agent extravaganza, where they can get a true ace to man their staff.