Cheap Seats

Cardinals should monitor Wilson situation

A set of ugly circumstances in Seattle may result in the Mariners soon setting former Cardinals farmhand Jack Wilson free.

And that bears watching because the slick fielding Wilson could serve as a huge improvement to the Redbirds' lacking middle infield defense.

Wilson, apparently, is grousing over the fact that Seattle manager Eric Wedge moved him from shortstop to second base to accomodate the glove of another former Cardinals shortstop, Brendan Ryan. According to the Seattle papers, Wilson asked Wedge to take him out of the Mariners home opener and then criticized Wedge for taking him out of the game to the press.


But the Cardinals are desperate enough for middle infield help that they should overlook Wilson's pouting in Seattle. He could return to his familiar position in St. Louis and would likely benefit from a change of scenery.

I readily admit that Wilson isn't the same guy he was when he patrolled shortstop for the Pirates a few years ago. Now 33 years old, Wilson is off to a fast start with a .333 batting average. But he's only a .245 hitter since being traded to seattle in the middle of the 2009 season. And, even worse, he's had trouble staying healthy enough to play.

Wilson will make $5 million this year thanks to a contract extension he received from Seattle. That's far too high of a price for the Birds to take on. But if Wilson is released and St. Louis only has to pay a pro-rated portion of the major league minimum, he's certainly worth taking a shot on.

Traded by the Cardinals in June 2000 to the Pirates for reliever Jason Christiansen, Wilson won a Silver Slugger and was named to the National League All-Star Team in 2004. He's no spring chicken, but he's also not old enough to make it implausible that a change of scenery could be just what the doctor ordered to jump start his career.

Wilson would certainly be a better shortstop than Ryan Theriot. And if he was added to the Roster, Theriot could platoon at second base with Skip Schumaker or he could serve as a utility player making the starting lineup better but it would make the bench better, too.