The 31-year-old defensive whiz signed a $10 million, two-year contract with the Mariners. According to terms obtained by The Associated Press, Wilson gets $5 million in each of the next two seasons and can earn $250,000 a year in performance bonuses: $50,000 for 450 plate appearances, and $100,000 each for 500 and 550 plate appearances.Overall, it's hard not to like this move for the Mariners even though $5 million annually is a little steep for my blood right now. It remains to be seen just how much Wilson can make an impact with the bat, but where it counts for the Mariners is with the glove. If he can provide the Mariners with top notch defense at short, then there is no question he will be worth $5 million annually. It depends on how good Wilson's defense is over the next two seasons, how productive he is with the bat, and most importantly, Wilson's health.
Seattle had an $8.4 million option with a $600,000 buyout under the contract Wilson had agreed to with the Pirates before the 2006 season.
The Mariners had inherited that contract from Pittsburgh on July 29, when they traded for the 31-year-old Wilson plus pitcher Ian Snell, for infielder Ronny Cedeno, catcher Jeff Clement and three minor league pitchers.
"I'm really, really excited to be back in Seattle. It's such a great chance to win and compete," Wilson said, remembering his 8 1/2 losing seasons with the Pirates.
I'm interested to see the impact of Jack Wilson's deal moving forward this offseason. You can make the case that the Mariners now have three of the best defensive players in baseball (Wilson, Gutirrez, and Ichiro), which is important because the Mariners play in the spacious and pitcher friendly, Safeco Field. When you take those two things into account, the Mariners could become the desired landing spot for free agent pitchers this winter. the only thing that can make this situation any more appealing to free agent pitchers is if the Mariners add some impact bats in their lineup, which I'm sure they will given how much money they have to spend this summer.
It's fascinating to note that the Mariners and Wilson (2 years/$10 million) drew up almost the identical contract to the one that Freddy Sanchez signed with the Giants last week (2 years/$12 million). Both players were in similar situations. Both guys were:
- acquired via trade at the deadline
- missed time in the second half because of injuries
- had expensive options for 2010 that were not likely to be picked up, but both wanted to stay with their respective teams
- gave up promising prospects at the deadline (for Wilson and Sanchez, respectively)
- had no short term options internally to replace the player if they did not come to terms
Sounds like a win-win to me.
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