Tuesday, March 29, 2011
New contract for C.J. Wilson is complicated
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson knows that getting a long-term deal done with the club is complicated. He said Tuesday that the club made an offer a few weeks ago, but his side hasn't counteroffered.
Rangers LHP C.J. Wilson said he was offered a long-term deal this spring, but turned it down because "it didn't really make any sense for me to bite at the first offer."
"It will take a little longer than two or three days or a week," Wilson said about negotiations.
The reality is that the entire situation is complex. Wilson was excellent as a starter last season, winning 15 games and posting a 3.35 ERA. It was so good that he's the No. 1 starter heading into 2011 and will be on the mound for Opening Day. But he also threw 204 innings, the most in his career and the club -- and Wilson -- have one season of work to base a long-term contract structured for a starter. That's not a lot.
So the club and Wilson have tough choices. Does either party take a leap and make a deal before Wilson's value changes in 2011? From the team standpoint, do they trust that he can continue to pile up the innings and put together a deal based on Wilson keeping his level of play consistent with 2010? Does Wilson sign up for the long haul now knowing that if he does put up similar numbers in 2010 that his value will soar?
Those aren't easy questions. For now, it appears both sides will see how things go. Neither side has ruled out talking during the season. And for the Rangers, they have exclusive negotiating rights between now and the end of the year. After that, he's on the open market and any team -- yes, Ben Rogers, even the New York Yankees (Rogers, co-host of Ben & Skin on 103.3 ESPN told the pitcher on the air Monday that he'd personally fight him if he thought about going to New York) -- could scoop him up.
It's all part of the wait-and-see game of negotiating. It's a risk for both sides, too. And that's the case in most of these deals. But the lack of a history of statistics as a starter for Wilson makes it even tougher.