The mounting feeling of certainty we were all feeling finally came to a head this morning of December 8, 2011.
Christopher John Wilson is no longer a Texas Ranger.
The deal was completed in the final hours of the winter meetings on a day that holds other historical significance. We lost John Lennon on this day. We lost Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott on this day. And now the Texas Rangers have lost CJ Wilson. The first two are historical tragedies involving icons that were lost due to senseless violence. The third is nothing more than a pitcher moving to a new team.
The move for CJ is not insignificant, however, for many reasons. The main one is that the Rangers are losing only the third left handed pitcher to post a season ERA below 3.00 in team history. Wilson also won 31 games in his first two years as a starter, and led the MLB for team victories during games he started.
Wilson’s postseason struggles are well documented. He pitched an incredible first postseason game ever in Tampa in 2010. He followed that with a strong outing against the Yankees in the next round that the Rangers managed to choke away.
Wilson hasn’t pitched a memorable game in the postseason since. Despite this, many wanted CJ to remain a Ranger, just as many wanted him gone.
Nobody wanted this to happen.
CJ Wilson is now pitching for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Rangers key rival in the AL West. Worse yet, he has a new teammate going with him: Albert Pujols.
In typical Wilson fashion, he left town with a flurry of press conferences, speaking at his usual hundred miles an hour and generally saying things that seemed inflammatory to the fans of his former team. None of this should be surprising though; since the season ended, it wasn’t hard to get the feeling that the Rangers just weren’t interested in investing the money it would take to keep the lefty around.
Most Rangers fans would have been fine with most of the teams rumored to be in on Wilson. Whether it was the new Miami (Heat) Marlins, or the Washington (Strasburg) Nationals, or the Chicago (Red Sox) Cubs, any team seemed to be a fit everyone could live with. The Angels landing CJ Wilson was the only unacceptable outcome on the map.
You know what they say about Murphy’s Law.
Now Wilson joins a rotation of Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana (although it seems that Santana will be a trade piece now). With the addition of the incredible bat of Pujols, the Angels managed to shell out over $300 million in a day. Not a bad days work.
Even with these huge additions, the Angels are not automatically World Series favorites, nor does it ensure them victory in the AL West. There is lots of baseball to be played, and moves to be made, between now and next October.
What do the Rangers do now? My first guess would be Yu Darvish, the Japanese phenom pitcher. However, guessing is almost pointless with JD and Nolan running the ship. Whatever moves that get made will come out of nowhere and surprise us.
The Rangers could even stand pat. The team is showing great confidence in the conversion of Neftali Feliz into a starter. Wilson commented that he felt the team was just expecting Feliz to step in and take his spot, with a noticeable hint of disdain in his voice.
Well if there is any team that knows how to take shaky closers with questionable mental toughness and turn them into a starter, it’s the Rangers. Right CJ?
Personally, I’m excited to see what kind of elevated level of competition the Angels can try to throw at the Rangers next year. I’m excited about the chance to knock CJ around a little bit.
I bet the poor Astros are less than excited that Albert Pujols will spend another ten years in their division though.
There goes Murphy’s Law again.