Reggie Von Bartles
Hot Stove: Los Angeles Angels Sign C.J. Wilson
Thursday December 8th, 2011
The Los Angeles Angels and new general manager Jerry Dipoto remained busy on Thursday morning, signing starting pitcher C.J. Wilson to join the recently signed Albert Pujols in Anaheim. By signing two of the biggest off-season free agents this winter, the Halos bill currently sits at $331.5 million.
Multiple sources confirmed that the lefty signed a five-year deal with the Angels worth $77.5 million. The deal also includes a no-trade clause. It was also reported by multiple sources that Wilson was offered a significantly higher dollar amount by the Miami Marlins, but chose to sign with the team closer to his hometown and the team that offered him a no-trade clause.
Wilson, 31, is a converted reliever-to-starter who just began to start games on a full-time basis during the 2010 season. During his time as a reliever from 2005-2009, he appeared in 252 games, posting a 3.65 ERA and 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9). Since joining the Rangers' rotation full-time in 2010, Wilson has started 67 games, posting a 31-15 record, a 3.14 ERA, and 3.5 walks per nine innings (BB/9) in 427 1/3 innings pitched.
While C.J.'s numbers have looked good since joining the starting rotation full-time, his postseason numbers have lacked his regular season performance. In ten postseason games, Wilson is 1-5 with a 4.82 ERA and has walked 29 batters in 52 1/3 innings.
His arm is "fresher" than most 31-year-free agent pitchers due to the fact that he's spent most of his big league career in the bullpen. However, the signing could be seen as a risk by the Angels based on the fact that Wilson has just two years of starting games under his belt in the big leagues.
With Texas having a true "hitter friendly" ballpark and Anaheim ranking near the bottom in MLB Park Factors according to ESPN, the move in home ballparks will help Wilson in several pitching categories. However, with Wilson being a ground-ball pitcher (50.7 career GB%) - the move may not benefit him as much as it would a predominantly fly-ball pitcher.
By signing C.J., the Angels now have one of the best pitching staffs in the American League. Wilson will join Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana, and Jerome Williams. With three solid starting pitchers in place, the Angels align themselves nicely for postseason play. The Angels could also look to trade Santana for help at the third base position.
The Texas Rangers lose their number one starting pitcher from last season, but still have a decent rotation that is capable of competing in the American League West division. With Wilson out, the Rangers are left with Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando, Derek Holland, and their former closer, Neftali Feliz. Although they don't have an "ace", the Rangers will still hold their own, thanks to a deep bullpen and an explosive offense.
From a fantasy perspective, moving to the Angels will help Wilson's overall fantasy value. While he won't have the offensive support of the Rangers' lineup, which could hurt his overall win numbers, the Angels offense should be much improved in 2012 based solely on the signing of Albert Pujols. In addition to park factors, having an improved defense and speedy outfield (hopefully with Mike Trout) next season will help give Wilson an extra boost in value where the wins total is lacking.
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