The CJ Wilson era has ended. Can’t say I’m surprised with either his departure or his choice of team. How do you react to such things? Well, if you’re my friend Matt, you do this:
Matt texted me and told me he’d torn up his Wilson shirt and threw it in the garbage. I asked him why he wanted to do that to perfectly innocent garbage? (Insert rim shot here).
Seriously, I don’t begrudge Wilson for leaving, although it pains me a little to see him go to a division rival. Wilson told MLB Radio today that, were it not for the fact the Angels were also going to be getting Albert Pujols, he’d probably be signing with the Miami Marlins today instead of his hometown team.
Of course, everyone looks for winners and losers during the free agency period and the Winter Meetings in particular, and many Rangers fans are apoplectic and convinced the Texas Rangers world is coming to an end. I am not one of them.
Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson make the Angels a better team, to be sure. It’s still a team that finished ten games behind the Rangers in 2011, despite a pretty deep rotation. Pujols upgrades the Angels’ offense, but it still doesn’t put said offense on the same level of the Rangers.
Wilson improves their starting pitching depth, but the Rangers still have the superior bullpen as of this writing (word is the Angels are trying to get Andrew Bailey from the A’s in a trade). I also think Wilson, as good a pitcher as he is, won’t be any more than a .500 pitcher against the Rangers as they’re constituted today. While he does love nibbling for the edges of the strike zone, he’s still more of the “hard-throwing lefty” variety, and the Rangers do pretty well against those types of pitchers.
Yes, the Angels have gotten stronger with Pujols and Wilson. The Rangers have gotten a little weaker losing Wilson. Don’t think for a moment that there won’t be more news from the Rangers side now that the big fish have signed their contracts. Texas didn’t acquire Adrian Beltre until January 5th last season. Mike Napoli didn’t become a Ranger until January 25th. There’s still plenty of time.
Will it be Yu Darvish coming over from Japan to Arlington? Will Texas trade for Matt Garza, John Danks, Gavin Floyd or James Shields? Anything is possible. Maybe Texas won’t make any moves. While there’s no clear #1 type of pitcher, a rotation of Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando and Neftali Feliz isn’t chicken feed either. The first four still managed to win between 13 and 16 wins each in 2011 and there’s no reason to believe they can’t repeat the feat in 2012.
Kudos to the Angels for signing Wilson and Pujols. I still think the Rangers have the horses (and the trade chips) to win the West for the third consecutive year.