Not that Jack Wilson knows me, or cares, but I feel like an apology is in order. I'm only getting around to talking about his contract now. It was definitely a big enough deal to talk about the moment it was agreed to.
In case you have not heard, the Mariners have themselves a starting shortstop. Jack Wilson agreed to a 2 year, $10 million deal, with a few incentives tied to plate appearances. This voids the $8.5 million option on his previous contract.
This is a perfect deal for everyone involved. The Mariners save about $3 million dollars on the 2010 payroll, while Jack Wilson gets some longer term security. It is clear that Wilson wanted to come back, and is happy to be back. It was also clear, particularly after the JJ Hardy trade, that nobody fit the M's shortstop hole better than Wilson.
Jack's defense is worth about $5 million by itself, which is good because his hitting doesn't add much at all. He will be lauded for "professional" at-bats, but that's a nice way of saying he tries his best to make his outs productive somehow. I will take Wilson's at-bats to what we saw out of Yuni the last couple years though, in a heartbeat.
In the end, it's always good to have players around that want to be in your organization. Jack Wilson is one of those guys, and he was signed for more than fair market value, and he fills a hole on the roster as well as anyone available.
There is also a bigger message in this deal. When Jack Z made the trade with Pittsburgh, he always referred to Jack Wilson as a long-term solution at shortstop. Many (including myself) weren't sold on that. I know I thought the shortstop market may change this offseason, and that Jack Z would evaluate those options. In the end though, Z stuck to his word, even after Wilson struggled through an injury-plagued couple months in Seattle. With deals like Wilson's, Jack Z is proving that he is a man of his word, and that the M's will stick with their players.
The Mariners are creating the kind of environment that players want to play in. That's not enough to lure the Mark Teixeira's of the world to the northwest (money still talks), but Jack Z's aggressive approach to roster composition, combined with the environment he and Don Wakamatsu are fostering in the organization, make Seattle a more attractive destination.