Tigers may make play for Bucs' Wilson
Shortstop would fill Detroit's need for a short-term solution
The Tigers made a play for Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson at the 2007 Trade Deadline, and they appear to be considering Wilson again.As the Tigers' search for a shortstop to replace Edgar Renteria continues, multiple reports have indicated that they are interested in acquiring Wilson from the Pirates, perhaps with a third team involved in the deal. FOXSports.com reported over the weekend that the Pirates had discussed acquiring catcher Matt Treanor from the Marlins, then packaging Treanor and Wilson in a trade with the Tigers. But the Web site quickly refuted its own report with another report in which a source called that rumor "inaccurate" and said it had "no foundation." Nevertheless, the Detroit Free Press reported the Tigers do, indeed, have an interest in Wilson, who has spent his entire eight-year career in Pittsburgh. Wilson, who turns 31 next month, seems to fit the Tigers' search on several fronts, though he does come with some major question marks after being limited to 87 games in 2008 because of a torn calf muscle and fractured finger. He batted .272 with just one homer and 22 RBIs this past season. As far as his contract is concerned, Wilson falls in line with the Tigers' hope of finding a short-term stopgap who can make way for prospects Cale Iorg and/or Danny Worth. Wilson is due to make $7.25 million in 2009, and his contract includes an $8.4 million club option with a $600,000 buyout for 2010. He has discussed the possibility of retiring after that contract runs out so that he can spend more time with his family. Wilson also fits the Tigers' previously stated desire to acquire a defensive-minded shortstop. With several big boppers in the lineup already, the Tigers want a shortstop who can take some of the pressure off the pitching staff with his defensive aplomb. Wilson fits that mold.
Wilson, of course, is not the only shortstop the Tigers are considering. As previously reported, a trade with the Red Sox for Julio Lugo remains a distinct possibility, and the Tigers have also been linked to the rumors involving Padres shortstop Khalil Greene. The Tigers do not appear all that interested in free-agent shortstops because of their desire to find a short-term solution. Though Wilson's trade value is obviously down after his difficult '08, the Pirates aren't going to just give him away. Reportedly, the Pirates are not desperate to deal Wilson and shed his contract, and they are seeking, among other things, a young shortstop to take Wilson's place. Wilson has compiled a career average of .269 with 56 homers and 358 RBIs in eight seasons.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.