Wilson is not only a fine pitcher, he might become the Reds ace this season. Doubt that? Let's look at the possibilities:
1. Wilson had the worst defense in the game behind him the past two years yet put up modest numbers overall. How many fly balls became doubles because Ben Grieve couldn't get to them fast enough? How many sinking liners were stopped in front of by LF Greg Vaughn? How about that range of SS Chris Gomez? Close play at the plate with weak-armed Randy Winn throwing is sure to score a run.
2. Wilson had the worst bullpen in major league baseball behind him the past two years. How many wins became losses or no-decisions after he left the game? How many blown saves? How many times did Hal MacRae leave him in an inning or two too long because of that pen? How many runs resulted?
3. Wilson's Second Half ERA in 2001 was the best in the American League at 2.13. How many Reds pitchers have done that for a 1/2 season? How many could? He was one of the best pitchers in the game at that time. Just because he pitched for a horrible team meant he got little respect.
4. Wilson is a gamer. Fighting back through all those arm woes has made him a tough guy. Gullett has always done very well with tough guys willing to learn. Add a couple mph to his fastball and he's a legitimate ace.
5. He's only making $500,000! Guys, next year is just that. Next year. If he stinks, so be it. But if he's good, he's a bargain. An extreme bargain. And Cincinnati should have some cash to play with, as Larkin, Sullivan, White, and Stinnett will be off the books, not to mention possible free agent departure in starters Dempster and Graves.
Am I saying he's as good as Colon or Penny or Vasquez? Hardly. Wilson is merely a serviceable major league pitcher with an upside. He's had success in the past. He's on the right side of 30. He battles for everything he's got. And he's cheap.
By the All Star game, Wilson will be among the better acquisitions in the game for 2003 and all of the posters here (well, most of the posters, as some seem impossible to please) will be pleased with his production.
"You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
-- Christy Matthewson
"Show me a good loser and I'll show you an idiot."
-- Leo Durocher