How much of an impact will Paul Wilson have on the Reds? I mean, here's a pitcher who was 6-12 with a 4.83 ERA with the Devil Rays last season. How is he going to help a team with aspirations of contention?
*** Jay: Don't be misled by Wilson's record with the last-place Devil Rays. Scouts say he has learned how to pitch after missing parts of the 1997 and '98 season and all of '99 with elbow and shoulder surgeries, and his numbers would have been better if the Devil Rays hadn't ridden him so hard.
It's little wonder that Wilson went 0-3 with a 12.91 ERA in September. He threw more than 120 pitches five times, and had a six-start stretch in July and August in which he averaged 119. Those numbers are ridiculous for a pitcher with a history of arm trouble.
Wilson threw a career-high 193 2/3 innings, and one scout says that the Reds would get optimal performance from him if they occasionally skipped him in the rotation and limited him to, say, 150 innings. The Reds know that Wilson must be handled with care, and figure that they won't need to push him due to the strength of their bullpen.
If Wilson stays healthy, he could be a terrific signing for the Reds. If not, he could become an albatross. The Reds will pay him $500,000 next season and $3.5 million in 2004.