Well, it looks like I may be eating crow when it comes to my prediction Jack Wilson starts the season at short for the Pirates.
Here is a list of links on the topic:
From the above stories, and many more links that are available throughout the web, Jack Wilson is a hot commodity. The Dodgers and Tigers are the frontline rumors. As many as 6 teams are at least inquiring about Wilson.
It doesn't look good for JW to be a Buc come spring.
The good news here is this could turn into a bidding war. The Pirates have $10-15M to spend over the winter if the player is right. That same money could be used to pay up the trade to get a higher notch of prospect in return.
Why do I mention what the Pirates can spend? It could easily become part of the trade. In order for the Pirates to get more in return, they will need to pick up a good portion of Wilson's salary. The more they pick up, the better the return will be.
I still believe his value could be much higher closer to the trade deadline. Coming off a season where he was injured for the better part of the year does not add up to a sell high scenario.
With Renteria signing with San Francisco, the short stop market just thinned a bit. The remaining good gloves on the FA list are not known for their bats.
The best part of a bidding war, the Pirates may have to pick up less salary for an equivalent talent return.
From my hometown sources, I hear nothing imminent will happen unless Huntington gets his socks knocked off in a deal. Likely, the deal won't happen until the winter meetings start but more likely after they conclude.
The one piece of information I did receive was another team has become a major player in the potential trade. The only thing lacking is which team.
Speculation could be Toronto, known to have at least had passing interest in recent history. But I don't see that trade happening. My vision is to the west.
One of the teams I could see interested is Seattle if they can move Beltre.
LA Dodgers have been rumored already.
The Angels could also be enquiring.
But the team that I see being that potential third team is San Diego. They just moved Greene to St. Louis. Their heir apparent is likely a year away. And Wilson would fit a one year fill in quite well with his 2010 option or $600k buyout.
Just speculation, but San Diego seems to fit the bill quite well for the third suitor.
Oh, one other note on the potential trade. It has been said in many article the Pirates do not have a replacement for Wilson. Don't forget about Brian Bixler. While he struggled at the plate and in the field initially, he started playing with more confidence as the season wound down.
Don't rule out Bixler, he got a taste of the Show, now he may need to take on a full helping and not settle for a taste.
Another potential option is Andy LaRoche. Walker could handle third and LaRoche slide into the shortstop role.
Wouldn't you rather see Bixler? I know I would considering the butchering of third Andy LaRoche accomplished last year short could become a catastrophe.