Five reasons to trade Jack Wilson to the highest bidder:
Durability is a concern going forward.
As Pat pointed out, Jack Wilson has had trouble staying on the field the past two years. After playing in at least 147 contests in each of his first four full seasons with the Pirates, Jack saw his games played totals dip to 142 in 2006, 135 in 2007 and 87 in 2008. He'll turn 31 on December 29. Unlike fine wine, most baseball players don't get much better with age.
His primary skill may noticeably erode.
"All players lose speed as they age; thus, speed-related skills are young players' skills." Bill James argues that players in Wilson's mold will lose effectiveness over time. A glove-less Wilson isn't a player most major-league teams would be interested in as a starter. On the other end of the spectrum, Wilson lacks the skills that do hold up well over time (e.g. power and plate discipline).
There is no reason for a light-hitting shortstop to be a team's highest paid player.
Players like Wilson are complementary pieces on a contender; they don't make up the core of a winning team. It makes sense to budget resources for player development and, eventually, long-term contracts for a team's stars.
Youth should be the focus right now.
In an interview with Alan posted yesterday, Charlie guessed that the Pirates might break their streak of losing seasons in 2013. Even with the best luck, there is no way the Pirates will be competing in the National League Central while Jack Wilson is our shortstop. It makes sense to acquire younger players with some upside in exchange for aging veterans when possible.
His stock will never be higher.
After Thursday's trade of Khalil Greene from the Padres to the Cardinals, and with the Giants signing Edgar Renteria, prices have been set on the shortstop market. There are three teams (the Dodgers, Orioles and Tigers) who have been linked to the Pirates at one point or another this winter still in search of a competent shortstop. With only one season and an option year remaining on his contract, it's hard to believe that Wilson will ever have more value than he does at this very moment.
And five reasons to keep Jack Wilson in Pittsburgh:
He is known as a community leader.
Wilson has been repeatedly recognized for his service to Western Pennsylvania--just take a look at his biography at Pirates.com:
- Is involved with the Westmoreland County Tobacco Free Coalition
- Was selected as Pittsburgh's nominee for the MLB Roberto Clemente Award in recognition of his work both on the field and in the community during the 2005 and 2006 seasons (pictured above; photo by jmd41280)
- Was the recipient of the 2006 Chuck Tanner Award, an award created by the local chapter of the BBWAA in 2006 that goes to the player who is the most cooperative with the media
- Has participated in the team's annual Winter Caravan each of the last seven years and has attended each of the last eight PirateFests
He is the fan favorite for an otherwise faceless team.
His presence in the community and his all-out effort on the field are very likable qualities, and as the longest-tenured Pirate, Jack Wilson is a fan favorite. As this post at OMGPittsburgh implies, trading Wilson may negatively affect the Pirates' gate receipts.
He has a veteran influence on an inexperienced team.
If Doug Mientkiewicz isn't re-signed and Jack Wilson is traded, who would be recognized as the leader of the Pittsburgh Pirates' clubhouse? Adam LaRoche? Freddy Sanchez? A very young, impressionable roster could stand to follow a veteran's example.
Good defense benefits young pitchers.
Though Wilson's glove may lose its effectiveness in time, there's no denying that Wilson on a bad day is still considerably better in the field than most other players on their best days. Steady hands up the middle would give confidence to a developing pitching staff. Rather than trying to blow a fastball past Ryan Howard, Ian Snell might be willing to let the slugger put the ball in play if he can trust the defenders behind him.
There is no clear in-house replacement.
While a team out of the pennant race can and should fill holes with replacement-level players if necessary, it's still worth noting that the Pirates' middle infield depth is lacking. Brian Bixler and Luis Cruz could be painful to watch over the course of a 162-game season. This may be why rumors have Neal Huntington targeting younger shortstops in Wilson trade packages.
- Rumors, rumors, rumors.
- Chavez and Davis Outrighted; Paulino With 3 Hits
- Davis and Chavez removed from 40-man roster
- Rinku and Dinesh on CNN this morning
- 2008 Season Review: Andrew McCutchen
- Will Jack Wilson get his tiger stripes?
- Winter Meetings Primer: Hudson and Crede top values on IF; How to assess pitching market; Rumor mill
- Maldonado Homers in Winter Ball; Minor League Signings
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