Found November 18, 2011 on
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Boston Red Sox
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DALLAS C.J. Wilson's agent, Bob Garber, was one of the most visible guests at the baseball general managers' meetings this week in Milwaukee. While Wilson took a trip to Japan, Garber met with representatives from several teams, including the Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees, Marlins and Angels. As the Miami Marlins (yes, that's happened) prepare to christen a new ballpark, it appears they are courting every familiar name on the market.
Apparently some teams may have a short memory when it comes to Wilson's postseason struggles, although the Rangers won't be in that camp. Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels clearly would like to re-sign Wilson, but they aren't going to chase him around the countryside, as we saw with Cliff Lee last offseason.
"C.J. was a big part of our teams the last two years, with the number of innings he's given us and the job he's done," Ryan told reporters earlier this week. "Any ballclub is going to miss that if they lose it. Obviously we have concerns if he goes someplace else. We have to make those innings up. And it's not just making up innings -- but quality innings."
Garber has reportedly let it be known that his client is looking for something in the six-year, 120 million range. And it's safe to say the Rangers aren't going anywhere close to that figure. Ryan had a hard enough time getting his arms around a six-year offer to Lee last offseason, so it makes sense the Rangers probably wouldn't go past five with Wilson.
"It's hard to tell where it will end up," one Rangers source told me Tuesday. "I'm guessing much higher than we all think."
It's not the end of the world if the Rangers lose Wilson, as evidenced by what happened without Lee this season. But Texas will certainly take a long look at other starters via free agency, such as Mark Buehrle or Roy Oswalt. Ryan has first-hand knowledge of Oswalt from his days with the Astros, but the 34-year-old right-hander is coming off a back injury. Buehrle would be the more attractive option, and not just because he works faster than any pitcher in the game.
He's one of the few opposing pitchers who's had consistent success at Rangers Ballpark and he's viewed as a tremendous clubhouse guy. Rangers players certainly respect Wilson's ability, but it's not like he's beloved by them. He's the most arrogant player on the team by a long shot, but obviously that hasn't hurt the chemistry of Ron Washington's ballclub.
If Wilson signs elsewhere, it appears the Rangers will give closer Neftali Feliz every opportunity to become a starter. There's a theory out there that Feliz's blown save in Game 6 of the World Series may haunt him to the point where he couldn't return to the bullpen. When I floated this theory by a Rangers source Friday, it didn't take him long to respond.
"That's stupid," he said via text.
But everyone agrees that it's much easier to find a closer than a front-line starting pitcher. Mike Adams had a lot of success as the set-up man in San Diego, so it makes sense he would be a candidate for the closer's role.
For now, the Rangers will wait patiently while Wilson's agent tells everyone who will listen that his client is the "Cliff Lee" of 2011 free agency. And if it turns out Garber's overplayed his hand, the Rangers will offer Wilson a soft landing.
But they'll likely be looking to replace a No. 1 starter for the second consecutive offseason.
BEST OF MAXIM
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