MLB Free Agent Contract Prediction: C.J. Wilson

C.J. Wilson had a rough postseason. Will that affect the free-agent contract he gets this offseason?

C.J. Wilson was one of the best starting pitchers in the American League during the 2011 season, posting a 16-7 W-L record (if you still care about such things), a 2.94 ERA and 152 ERA+, and a 1.187 WHIP; those numbers got him sixth place in AL Cy Young Award balloting.

Before that, people were saying (you know, the "people" who "say" things) that if Wilson had a great postseason, he could greatly increase his value on the free agent market, as Carlos Beltran did when he parlayed a fantastic postseason with the Astros in 2004 into a megadeal with the Mets.

Wilson didn't have a great postseason. In fact, he had a pretty bad postseason; in six appearances (five starts) he issued 19 walks in 28 innings and posted an overall 1.71 WHIP and 5.79 ERA in those innings; he also served up six home runs. Has that made him worth less? Has that stopped Wilson and his agent from thinking big? Heavens, no:

latest word is cj wilson asked #LAAngels for $100M. played at fountain valley hs, santa ana jc & loyola. #hometowndiscount
Nov 29 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

 

One presumes that $100 million request was split up among, say, six years and not just one. Heyman's tweet notes that Wilson grew up in Southern California. Sometimes that makes a difference for players, sometimes not. The Marlins are hoping not:

Over lunch at Joe's Stone Crab and during a visit to their new stadium, the Marlins told left-hander C.J. Wilson that they want him in their starting rotation next year.

To emphasize the point, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria led the ballpark tour Monday.

"They rolled out the red carpet. They seem to have a plan and made it very clear they'd like CJ to be a part of it," said Bob Garber, Wilson's agent.

"I think he really impressed everybody today with his charisma. I think he'd be a great fit in South Florida."

Joe's Stone Crab? For $100 million Wilson could probably buy the entire Joe's Stone Crab chain.

Garber went on to say that he believes Wilson will make a decision during next week's Winter Meetings. The Marlins have been linked to just about every free agent in baseball, as the Yankees used to be, but according to SI's Jon Heyman:

#yankees have no visit currently planed with cj wilson, despite his agent's request. has he overpriced himself for yankees?

To think we have arrived in a world where $100 million is too much for the Yankees. Words fail.

Anyway, the Palm Beach Post link above says Wilson might even return to Texas. Or is that wishful thinking?

"It may be a deal where he comes back and says, 'I want to be in Texas,' and it makes sense and we're able to work something out, and it may not," Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels told reporters last week in Texas. "C.J. is looking for what the market will bring. He deserves to be well-compensated."

Doesn't sound like Daniels is that interested.

The Marlins, as noted, court many but don't actually seem interested in "dating" anyone. Wilson could also be "caveat emptor" for any team looking at him, as he has put together just two full seasons as a starter, and just turned 31. Do you want to be the GM paying $18 million for him to post a 5.11 ERA when he's 37?

But he's lefthanded, you're saying! Gold! Pure gold!

When push comes to shove, I think the call of home will be too much for Wilson, and he'll sign with the Angels, but not for quite as much as he wants.

Prediction: Angels, four years, $62 million, fifth year club option for $18 million with $2 million buyout.

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