C.J. Wilson went 16-7 this year for the Texas Rangers with an ERA of 2.94 in 34 regular-season starts. If C.C. Sabathia doesn't opt out of his contract with the Yankees, Wilson will be the top starting pitcher in this year's free-agent market. He's presently pitching for the Texas Rangers in the World Series, and since he was born, raised and still lives in the Los Angeles area, I stopped and asked him a few questions for ESPNLA.com:
Jim Bowden: You've pitched well in the postseason, but not as good as you did in the regular season. Do you think this will affect your postseason value when you become a free agent?
C.J. Wilson: I really don't know, and at this point I am just focused on trying to win the World Series. I've been fortunate to hoist two American League trophies the last two years and now I just want to hoist the World Series trophy. The free-agent process will take care of the rest, and in terms of the money, no matter where the final numbers end up, it will be more than I ever dreamed about.
JB: You've had some good outings this postseason, but have struggled at times as well. … Are you tired from all the innings you've pitched the last two years?
CW: No, I'm not gassed. We have some starters that are gassed because they've thrown more innings than they've ever thrown in their life this year. In my case, it's been more about mechanics, but I feel like, my last two starts, that my mechanics are coming around.
JB: Are you looking forward to being a free agent after the World Series?
CW: Jim, you of all people know not to ask me that now. The only thing I care about right now is winning the World Series, and that's where my focus is. I've never been though free agency and really don't know what to expect, but I'll leave that process up to my agent, Bob Garber, and deal with that after the postseason.
JB: You were born in Newport Beach and went to Fountain Valley High School in Southern California, so are the Dodgers or Angels teams that you'd have interest in playing for?
CW: I grew up hanging out in Manhattan Beach and love L.A. and Southern California. In fact, I've rented a home near Benedict Canyon in Los Angeles for this offseason. I didn't want to buy, obviously, because I don't know where I'm going to be playing next year. However, I'm planning on going into free agency with an open mind and listening to every club that has interest in me. I just don't want to talk about specific teams right now.
JB: You have several hobbies, including photography. Can you tell us about your interest there?
CW: I really do take photography seriously. It's a true artistic expression of my heart, mind and soul. I love capturing pictures and making them a clear version of what I imagine, it's really about bringing imagination to life. … I also have done short films with friends using the same [cameras] I shoot landscapes with. My favorite shoot was being on safari in Africa.
JB: You're also into cars as well, what do you drive now and what is your dream car?
CW: I drive a Carrera GT, which is the coolest Porsche they ever made. I also have a Ferrari, but it's old; not really old, but used. My dream cars are always evolving, but I'd say the $600,000 1992 F40 Ferrari and the 250 GTO, which is probably worth about $5 million dollars.
JB: What might be your biggest splurge after your next contract?
CW: I don't have a house, so it'll probably be a house. I just have a condo right now. My dream house would be a modern or contemporary one with a nice view and cool pool that is designed wide and low because I'm not very tall.
Wilson would fit in nicely with the Angels' rotation, behind Jared Weaver and Dan Haren and ahead of Ervin Santana, or even with the Dodgers after Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley. He's a proven 15-game winner, 200-innings-pitched workhorse and a high-character leader in the clubhouse.