MLB Free Agents 2012: 5 Teams That Will Be in the Market for Rangers' CJ Wilson
Now that CC Sabathia is off the free-agent market after signing his extension with the New York Yankees, the Texas Rangers' C.J. Wilson has become the most sought-after pitcher available on the market.
Despite Wilson's struggles during the playoffs, the former middle reliever has posted back-to-back excellent seasons for the Texas Rangers. And, in terms of production as a starter, Wilson has excelled in that role.
He's been successful in a hitter's park—Rangers Ballpark in Arlington—and he's done so during sweltering summer weather, where 100 degrees is often considered a cold front.
Always a polarizing figure to Texas Rangers' fans, Wilson has stated publicly he wishes to stay in Texas. And why wouldn't he? The Rangers are now two-time defending American League Champions, despite his postseason struggles.
In my opinion, Wilson will seek more money than the Rangers are willing to shed for his services. This will please many Rangers fans, but the fact remains that if Wilson walks, the Rangers might not make the postseason for a third consecutive year if they can't replace the 16 wins he contributed in 2011.
Here's a look at five teams that will be in the market for Wilson's services for the 2012 season and beyond.
No. 5: Washington Nationals
Eerily similar to a point that former Rangers' ace Cliff Lee broached last offseason, Wilson likes the idea of hitting every fifth day.
Well, in eight career at-bats, Wilson has managed a triple.
MLB Network projected that he might be a No. 2 starter—I feel the ideal spot for Wilson—behind ace Stephen Strasburg.
Should Wilson head to the District of Colombia, the righty-lefty, one-two punch of Strasburg and Wilson would immediately elevate a Nationals' club that is already well on its way to being successful.
No. 4: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Well, as we all know, California native Wilson won't be playing for the Oakland Athletics anytime soon.
Here's hoping he won't be playing for the Angels anytime soon, either. However, should they make a substantial enough offer, Wilson would be hard-pressed to not at least consider it.
The Angels play in a nice, pitcher-friendly park, and Wilson would be an excellent complement to Jered Weaver and Dan Haren.
As a Texas Rangers fan, I certainly hope this scenario doesn't take place. Since the Angels have already extended Weaver, and are more in need of offense than another quality starter, I feel the Angels are a long-shot at best for Wilson's services.
That's cool with me.
No. 3: Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers will make a serious run at attempting to reacquire Wilson's services. The Rangers have lucked out big time in the last two seasons in terms of successfully converting relievers into front-of-the-rotation starters—Wilson in '10 and Alexi Ogando in '11.
There is much talk around Ranger Nation that closer Neftali Feliz will be the next bullpen band-mate to effectively make the switch.
As stated in a previous slide, I feel the Rangers are in trouble if they can't replace Wilson's 16 wins from a year ago. You simply can't assume Feliz can step right in to the rotation and win more than 10 games.
After all, as wildly successful as Ogando was in '11, he certainly ended up face-first in a wall named "fatigue" shortly after his All-Star appearance.
Derek Holland has the "stuff" to be an ace, as was witnessed by all during his Game 4 World Series masterpiece.
He's probably not quite ready to tote the tag of ace just yet, though.
The Texas Rangers need Wilson to come back, not just for 2012, but for 2013, 2014...
No. 2: New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are in need of pitching. No other team in MLB needed CC Sabathia more than the Yankees. Now with Sabathia extended and his wallet increasing in girth (directly proportional to the rest of his body), the Yankees look to be consistent contenders—ad nauseam—no doubt.
With the emergence of Ivan Nova, the Yankees possess a formidable one-two punch. Should the Bronx Bombers add Wilson, they could go either lefty-lefty with Sabathia and Wilson or lefty-righty-lefty, with Sabathia, Nova and Wilson—a pretty awesome one-two-three.
I think the Yankees will make a serious run for Wilson's services. With Wilson and Sabathia, the Yankees would boast, arguably, the two best left-handers in the American League.
Watching Wilson flee for New York would hurt as a Rangers fan, but it wouldn't be nearly as painful as watching him leave for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, with a chance to directly impact the Rangers' 2012 postseason hopes—in a bad way.
No. 1: Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are my personal pick as suitor for the Wilson's services, and don't be surprised if this signing goes down.
First of all, the Red Sox will do whatever it takes to keep the NY Yankees from acquiring the talented left-hander.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, the Red Sox desperately need a quality arm for the front of their rotation, especially since John Lackey is likely done for 2012 in its entirety as he is up for Tommy John surgery.
No word on if fried chicken and beer had anything to do with Lackey's damaged right arm.
Regardless, definitely look for the Red Sox to make a run at Wilson to add a left-handed complement to Jon Lester and provide a stellar rotation to go with a deadly offense.