Texas Rangers: Rich Haren

Angels, C.J. Wilson match made in SoCal

November, 15, 2011
11/15/11
9:44
AM CT
News out of the GM meetings in Milwaukee on Monday night (they start in earnest Tuesday) centered around the Los Angeles Angels' intrigue in Texas Rangers free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson.

Angels general manager Jerry DiPoto had an extended meeting with Wilson's agent Bob Garber and said he hopes the team's interest in the quirky lefty is mutual, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox were the initial teams -- as they always are -- thought to be at the top of the list of suitors for the 16-game winner. Yankees GM Brian Cashman has contacted Wilson's agent, but the club that makes the most sense to seriously pursue the Newport Beach, Calif., native is the Rangers' main AL West rival.

By bringing home Wilson, who turns 31 on Friday, the Angels can spring one back on the Rangers while adding a quality left-hander to an already strong rotation that features fellow native son and Cy Young candidate Jered Weaver, plus Dan Haren and Ervin Santana.

In consecutive seasons the Angels, the former lords of the AL West, have watched the Rangers make two World Series with former Angels playing significant roles. When the Angels refused to give Vladimir Guerrero a multi-year deal, Rangers manager Ron Washington convinced the veteran slugger to come to Texas as the designated hitter.

This season -- the Year of the Napoli -- further agitated the Angels after catcher-first baseman Mike Napoli -- who hit .320 on the season, dispelled the notion that he is a poor receiver and was then the Rangers' hands-down World Series MVP -- landed in Texas days after the Angels shipped him in a deal to Toronto.

Wilson inherited ace responsibilities this season after Cliff Lee spurned Texas' best free-agent offer. Wilson had another strong regular season in just his second as a starter, throwing more than 220 innings, striking out more than 200 batters and lowering his ERA under 3.00. However, he struggled again in the postseason. As the team's No. 1 starter in all three series, Wilson was 0-3 with a 5.79 ERA in just 28.0 innings over five starts. In nine career postseason starts, he is 1-5 with a 4.82 ERA.

If Wilson does return to the Rangers, it would figure he would again be in line to serve as the No. 1 starter, barring signing or trading for a front-line arm. The Angels, however, could slide the needed lefty into any slot two through four -- and what a luxury that would be for the pitching-rich Angels.

It will be interesting to see just how high Angels owner Arte Moreno will authorize his front-office to go for Wilson, and how serious free-spending teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, both with rotation holes, become.

The tone coming from the Rangers during the postseason seemed to suggest that they are prepared to lose their former draft pick to the highest bidder. If that is the payback-driven Angels, we'll see if that changes Texas' tune.

In other Rangers-related news from Milwaukee:

* GM Jon Daniels is not attending the annual meetings. He has a good excuse. Daniels' wife, Robyn, delivered the couple's third child over the weekend, daughter Charlotte. Assistant GM Thad Levine and director of baseball operations Matt Vinnola, will represent the Rangers.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Yu Darvish
WINS ERA SO IP
10 2.90 167 133
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .323
HRA. Beltre 15
RBIA. Beltre 58
RA. Beltre 57
OPSA. Beltre .883
ERAY. Darvish 2.90
SOY. Darvish 167