Detroit Tigers 2012 Free Agency: How CJ Wilson Becomes a Tiger

Joe UnderhillCorrespondent IIIOctober 29, 2011

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 28: C.J. Wilson #36 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the fifth inning during Game Seven of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

CJ Wilson is widely regarded as the best starting pitcher available in free agency, at least until C.C Sabathia chooses to opt out of his contract with the Yankees. There was an article on ESPN a couple months ago suggesting the Detroit Tigers should go after and sign the Texas ace in the off-season. My initial reaction was, "CJ is a great pitcher, but how would he fit with Jacob Turner and Drew Smyly being ready for the majors in the next year or two."

The Tiger's could really use a left handed pitcher in their rotation. Turner is the pitcher closest to being ready to positively impact the game for the Tigers, and he is also right handed. Smyly is left handed, but will probably receive another year of development in the minors before he gets a chance to start in Detroit.

Detroit currently has one of the best rotations in the American League. They Feature Justin Verlander (who should win the CY Young), Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. If they were able to add a pitcher of Wilson's Caliber they would have the deepest rotation in baseball.

So how does CJ come to Motown? Well obviously he is a free agent, so Detroit is going to have to outbid several teams for him, including the Texas Rangers who beat Detroit in the ALCS. Detroit will also have to find a way to clear a rotation spot for Wilson. CJ will probably require a contract of at least five years, with options for a sixth. At a minimum Wilson will want a contract that pays him 17 to 18 million per year.

Detroit would also need to move one of their starters. I think it is fairly obvious Justin Verlander is not the pitcher they are going to move. I also think it is pretty unlikely they will move Doug Fister after the year he had. That leaves mad Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. The Tigers do have the luxury of waiting up a year to move either of them.

I think either a trade would happen before or shortly after signing Wilson. Either Scherzer or Porcello would most likely be moved in a trade which would net Detroit either a second or third baseman and possibly some bullpen help as well.

I'm not sold on this being a good move for Detroit. I think Porcello will continue to develop, and I would rather see Detroit save its free agent money for the young guys or to improve second base. I think Detroit would be better served by signing a much less expensive veteran, possibly Bruce Chen, if they don't think one of their young guys will be ready to take the fifth spot in the rotation.