C.J. Wilson drawn to Rangers

Updated: November 2, 2011, 3:59 PM ET
ESPNDallas.com

Texas Rangers left-handed pitcher C.J. Wilson, set to hit the free-agent market on Thursday, said recently that there's a "great chance" he returns to Texas.

"I like it here and I've won here," Wilson told ScoreboardDaily.com. "I've proved that I can be a good pitcher here. There have been a lot of people over the years that have said it's impossible to pitch here in Texas, and look what we did here on the rotation -- we went out and won a bunch of games and threw a bunch of innings and did stuff that no other organization can say."

Wilson, who turns 31 later this month, has made a successful transition from reliever to starter the past two seasons. He was 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA in a team-high 223 1/3 innings as the club's No. 1 starter in 2011. That followed a solid 2010 performance -- 15-8 with a 3.35 ERA in 204 innings. Wilson asked the club for an opportunity to start, came into spring training in 2010 committed to winning a job in the rotation and now is one of the most consistent starters for the Rangers the past two seasons.

But Wilson struggled in the just-completed postseason -- 0-3 with a 5.79 ERA in 28 innings. He had 26 strikeouts and 19 walks and opponents hit .276 off him. Last year Wilson was 1-2 with a 3.70 ERA in four postseason starts.

"You don't really know what that market is going to be," Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan said on ESPN 103.3 FM's "Galloway and Company" on Monday. "That market will develop as we go forward. Do I think we'll be competitive? Yeah, I do. I think we'll be competitive."

Ryan said he doesn't know if what the club feels is a competitive offer will be enough if there's another team that thinks "they have to strengthen their pitching and go further than what we feel is justifiable."

"You have to see how that develops," Ryan said.

General manager Jon Daniels agreed.

"There just aren't many guys that get to this point in free agency and don't test the market, don't find out what their value is and don't get a sense of where it might go. That's the reality of it," Daniels told ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's "Ben and Skin Show" on Tuesday morning.

"We have a good relationship with C.J. -- open lines of communication. & He's in a very unique spot and we're respectful of that. We'd like to have him back, but we're also kind to the fact that his free agent value out in the market may be greater than what we're capable of. And so we're going to stay in touch with him."

Wilson said after the World Series that he isn't sure what to expect from the free-agent process, but he did reiterate that he likes playing for the Rangers.

"The baseball angle here is very strong," Wilson said. "Obviously, we're a good organization. We've proven we can win. We have guys on the team coming back. We have a lot of pieces that I think are complementary to me and vice-versa, so in that regard, that kind of speaks for itself. I like it here in that sense.

"They've treated me with a lot of respect the last two years as a starting pitcher and they've given me a chance to improve, given me a chance to solidify my role on the team as well as around the league as a premium starter. I feel like a lot of my success is because of the team that I've been playing on."

Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com contributed to this report.

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