MLB Free Agents 2012: New York Yankees Should Pass on C.J. Wilson This Winter
For the second year in a row, the New York Yankees' main focus in the offseason will be starting pitching.
There's a good chance that Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia won't be back with the team.
Phil Hughes still can't be depended on.
A.J. Burnett could be shopped around this winter in a trade.
And CC Sabathia could opt out of his contract, although many expect the Yankees to re-sign him to another long-term deal.
There has been a lot of speculation as to whether the Yankees will show interest and pursue Texas Ranger left-hander C.J. Wilson.
Wilson finished 2011 with a 16-7 record, a 2.94 ERA with 206 strikeouts in 223.1 innings.
A lot of the stories done here on Bleacher Report have Wilson's name featured as a guy the Yankees will definitely pursue. And many of you have advocated that the Yankees should indeed go out and sign the Rangers star.
I am not one of them. Not even close.
Why shouldn't the Yankees make a strong push for the lefty? I'll tell you why.
His 2011 numbers are fantastic—no doubt.
But, like many others in the past, Wilson is playing for a contract, which tends to push players past expectations.
Players then tend to under-perform in their following season after locking up a long-term deal.
And I really think Wilson would fit this mold of past and present free agents to-be.
Which means, buyer beware.
A Pitcher over 30
Some people tend to think Wilson is a young guy because he's barely been a starter for the Rangers.
Actually, Wilson's been around for a while.
Wilson will turn 31 this coming November, which tends to be the beginning of the end of a pitcher's best years.
You usually see the signs of a decline in a pitcher roughly around age 33 or 34.
The Yankees signed A.J. Burnett at age 31, and they would love nothing more to get out of that contract.
The Red Sox signed John Lackey on the wrong side of 30, and it's gone down as one of the worst decisions in baseball.
The Yankees should look to get younger in their pitching staff—not try to sign guys who are going on 30-plus, like they tried with Cliff Lee last year.
For a guy who is supposed to be an ace for the Rangers, at times, he doesn't pitch like one.
Wilson walks way too many batters and throws a few too many wild pitches for his own good.
In 2010, he walked a league high 93 batters with seven wild pitches and 10 hit-by-pitches.
In 2011, he got the walk total down to 74 with six wild pitches and 10 hit-by-pitches.
In the playoffs though, his control has been a major factor.
In the three starts during the 2011 playoffs, he has walked eight batters in 15.2 innings, five of which came in a game against the Tigers.
Not exactly ace-like stuff, is it?
The Rangers are 1-2 in those starts too.
Terrible Postseason Pitcher
Over the past two years, Texas has been one of the best teams in the American League, and in 2011, could be representing the AL again in the World Series.
While in the playoffs though, Wilson has been downright terrible in Texas' biggest games.
Wilson is 1-4 with a 5.40 ERA in seven starts. Not good.
In the 2011 postseason, Wilson is 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA. Even worse.
The Rangers gave Wilson the ball in Game 5 against the Tigeres to try and close out the series with Detroit.
Those are the type of games you expect your ace to win.
Wilson went six innings, allowed eight hits, six runs, walked two, struck out five and allowed three home runs in the 7-5 loss.
Despite being on the road, Wilson pitched even worse than Justin Verlander, who didn't exactly have his best stuff either against Texas.
Not exactly the type of starter you want to hand the ball to in a big game in October.
CC Sabathia Is a Bigger Priority for the Yankees
The Yankees don't need C.J. Wilson in the rotation.
However, the Yankees really do need CC Sabathia in their rotation.
Sabathia is the Yankees ace, and if he were not in the Yankees rotation, their 2012 season would be in big trouble.
But the Yankees know this, and if Sabathia does opt out of his current contract, the Yankees will do whatever it takes to keep Sabathia from leaving New York.
The Yankees do not feel the same way about adding Wilson to their 2012 pitching rotation.
Sabathia is the priority this coming winter; Wilson is hardly one.
Who Will Spend Too Much for Wilson?
In the end, I don't see the Yankees over-spending for the services of Wilson.
But someone will.
He's a left-handed starter who throws hard and pitches a lot of innings. Wilson is getting paid a pretty decent contract this winter.
Who ends up spending the most for Wilson?
If Texas ends up winning the 2011 World Series, I think Nolan Ryan makes every effort to bring him back to Texas.
If they don't, don't be surprised to see a team like the Toronto Blue Jays or even the Boston Red Sox make a push for Wilson.
But my odds-on favorite right now for Wilson is the incumbent, the Rangers.
In the end, they keep their lefty for at least another five years.