Rabid Reaction: Our series of knee-jerk-styled, emotional overreactions from Ben Rogers of 103.3 FM ESPN's Ben and Skin Show. He's known to get way too excited over even the slightest of developments with the teams he grew up with in the DFW. Proceed with caution ...
C.J. Wilson is about to get paid. Stupid paid. Sport a fur coat just to walk the pet alligator paid. Private helicopter paid. Personal omelet chef in the private helicopter paid. How much do you want for that Bigfoot skeleton paid. Insanely paid.
Of course, there’s this little matter of helping his team win the AL West, followed by a full compliment of postseason trimmings. But after that, C.J. Wilson, who will turn 31 in November, will likely be in need of a quality armored car fleet as he’ll be the most highly coveted free agent starting pitcher on the market.
If you think the Angels’ recent five-year, $85 million contract extension for Jered Weaver imposes some sort of a ceiling for the looming C.J. sweepstakes, think again. Weaver wasn’t due to hit free agency until after the 2012 season. He essentially decided to grab the security of the here and now, as opposed to waiting another year and a half before trying his luck with baseball’s fattest and most eager wallets. He likes L.A. So what if he left $40 or $50 million on the table. He’s good with $85 million.
As crazy as it might sound, $85 million might not be enough to win the C.J. Wilson auction.
Unlike Weaver’s one-team renegotiation marketplace, Wilson will be entering a prison-rules style free-for-all where anything goes and the only rule is that the highest bidder wins. Killer whales like the Yankees and Red Sox will have giant placemats at the table, and they’re licking their chops.
The best part of the equation for the Wilson camp unquestionably is that their prizefighter will be the most attractive option for teams desperate to wildly overspend for front-of-the-rotation wares.
His agent, Bob Garber, is somewhere right now twisting a symbolic air mustache while staring into an expensive fireplace, confidently boasting, “It’s all falling into place,” followed by an evil, bellowing laugh. Wilson’s been phenomenal on the mound, but the timing of his free agency relative to an otherwise inferior free agent starting pitching pool will seriously increase his bankroll.
The term of his next deal will most likely be five years. The bottom of his market will likely be somewhere in the range of $16 million per year. If the Rangers reach the postseason and Wilson dominates, one baseball executive speculated that he could see as much as $20 million annually.
Although he won’t quite reach Cliff Lee- or C.C. Sabathia-type money, he will likely pocket between $80 million to $100 million, depending on how the rest of his season goes and which teams decide they can’t live without him.
When asked if the C.J. Sweepstakes could exceed $100 million, one executive smiled and told me: “It only takes one team.”
Pet alligator stores be advised. You’re about to have an extremely rich lefty browsing your inventory.
The Ben and Skin Show airs weekdays from 9 a.m.-noon on 103.3 FM, ESPN in Dallas-Fort Worth. Follow Ben on Twitter: @BenRogers