C.J. Wilson to the Angels? GM Jerry Dipoto, Underdog Angels Moving into Position

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 24: C.J. Wilson #36 of the Texas Rangers is removed from the game in the sixth inning during Game Five of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Gil ImberAnalyst IINovember 12, 2011

C.J. Wilson is arguably the most valuable free-agent pitcher on the market in 2011, but that didn't stop Los Angeles Angels rookie GM Jerry Dipoto from calling Wilson's agent Bob Garber to touch base.

For the Angels, the acquisition of Wilson would kill two birds with one stone.

First, Dipoto has stated that among the Angels' priorities this offseason is the acquisition of "the best starting pitcher" out there, a need that Wilson would fill quite significantly.

Second, by luring Wilson away from the Texas Rangers, the Angels would simultaneously improve upon their pitching rotation while presiding over the diminution of the Rangers' staff.

When owner Arte Moreno announced Dipoto's hiring on October 29, he praised Dipoto as a person who could "manage our entire baseball operation system [and] incorporate analytical thinking."

He also placed a lot of trust in Dipoto's decision making, trust which includes allowing Dipoto the freedom to spend money in ways he sees fit.

Dipoto recently mentioned he was "intrigued" by the prospect of Wilson as an Angel.

After all, Wilson is coming off a 16-win season with the Rangers, hurling a 2.94 ERA in 223.1 innings pitched, his most innings thrown in a season since his big league debut in 2005.

Wilson has spent his entire career with the Texas Rangers, though, he is from Newport Beach, CA. A Loyola Marymount graduate, it is unclear whether the 30-year-old Wilson is longing to return to Orange County or whether location makes little difference to the talented southpaw.

What is clear is that Wilson has experienced two breakout seasons in 2010 and 2011, earning a career-high winning percentage of .696 last season.

Commanding salaries of $3.1 million in 2010 and $7.05 million last season, Wilson has undoubtedly earned a significant pay hike going into 2012. At his current rate, Wilson's services would cost the Angels approximately $450,000 per win.

Wilson won't be pitching anywhere in 2012 at his current rate.

The only question remaining is whether Dipoto is willing to spend a projected $15-plus million for the best pitcher out there in the 2011-2012 offseason. Though he did confirm a phone call with Wilson's agent, that in itself should not be taken as a sign that any deal is imminent.

Remember, the Angels are still the dark horse in the hunt for an expensive, first-class pitcher, such as C.J. Wilson.

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