There's good news and bad news, Pirate fans. The good news is: Jack Wilson is still a Pittsburgh Pirate. The bad news is: Somehow, someway, by some freak act of God, Jack Wilson is still a Pittsburgh Pirate.
Dating back to the 2007 non-waiver trade deadline, there was a near certainty that the Pittsburgh Pirates were going to trade their veteran shortstop. The Pirates and Detroit Tigers were engaged in talks that would send Wilson to Motown in exchange for then-prospect Jair Jurrjens, until those talks broke down and Jurrjens went to Atlanta in the Edgar Renteria trade.
Over the offseason, there were reports that Wilson was headed to the Toronto Blue Jays, but Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi quickly denied such rumors, and the deal wasn't even close to going down.
Fast-forward to 2008, with another trade deadline possibility of moving Wilson that ends up dead in the water; this time, with the Los Angeles Dodgers. That should be it, right? Wrong.
As the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings approached last week, rumors surfaced (as reported by yours truly) that Detroit, and then L.A. were both interested in Wilson again.
But after speculations, negotiations, and exchanges of information, a deal was never reached with either team. Instead, Detroit signed free agent Adam Everett, and the Dodgers renewed talks to re-sign Rafael Furcal.
Then came the Minnesota Twins, who considered the shortstop a viable addition to their organization, based on their emphasis on pitching and defense. But just as quickly as they came, they left, re-signing Nick Punto and promptly naming him their starting shortstop.
There have been different factors cited as to why a deal was never reached with any of four possible suitors over the course of nearly a year-and-a-half. Some say the Pirates' asking price was too high, while others say the other teams' return consideration was too thin.
Wilson made it public that he desired to stay in Pittsburgh, but was open to restructuring his contract in a move to either Detroit or Los Angeles. A southern California native, he still makes his home there in the offseason with his wife and children.
And after all of the smoke has cleared, it appears that the only person that's OK with the whole situation is Pirates' GM Neal Huntington.
"As we stand right now, Jack Wilson is our shortstop for 2009, and that's not a bad thing," Huntington told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
While it's no secret the Pirates have an apparent "no player is untouchable" policy going into the 2009 season, they have entertained offers for several different players, but only pulled the trigger on one: sending beleaguered catcher Ronny Paulino to Philadelphia for AAA catching prospect Jason Jaramillo.
All the same, the widely ranging speculation of moving Wilson spurred a spectrum of emotion, from those happy to see him stay, to those angry to not see him go. Either way, there is bound to be much more conversation surrounding him during the course of the coming season; not about where he's going, but about where he didn't go.
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