Who's on short?

The Mariners have two J. Wilsons at shortstop, and the unlikely one (Josh) is turning into the best prospect.
The Mariners have two J. Wilsons at shortstop, and the unlikely one (Josh) is turning into the best prospect.

The Seattle Mariners suddenly have a Wilson problem, and not just the one characterized by the club not having fielded a good everyday catcher since the 2005 departure of Dan Wilson. The more pressing problem has to do with this guy Wilson playing shortstop. From the rear view, 'ꀜJ. Wilson'ꀝ looks every bit the major-league baseball player. When he turns around, Jack Wilson looks like nothing so much as Jerry Seinfeld in a baseball uniform. The problem is that he'ꀙs been playing — batting, that is — about the same.

But the solution to the problem, oddly, might also be J. Wilson, which is to say, Josh. One would have figured it would be Josh (as in joke) Wilson who would better remind fans of comedian Seinfeld. Instead, Josh looks more like a big-league shortstop and hits like one, too.

Confused? So, evidently, was M'ꀙs general manager Jack Zduriencik, who expected Jack Wilson, acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates a month ago, to be an everyday — perhaps a star — shortstop for the next few seasons. Instead, when Jack W. was injured and unavailable for a few games, lightly regarded Josh W. (who also played for Arizona and San Diego this season) opened the eyes of Jack Z. and everybody else.

As of end-of-game Wednesday (Aug. 26), when the home-bound M'ꀙs completed the sweep of the Hopeless Oakland A'ꀙs before starting a four-game set with the Royals, the numbers on Mssrs. Wilson read:

Jack: 11 hits in 57 at-bats for a .193 average, no home runs and two runs batted in.

Josh: 13 hits in 39 at-bats, three home runs and five RBI.

Jack: one error in 43 attempts and a few good plays.

Josh: one error in 25 attempts and a few great plays.

Conclusion: Josh (four years younger) has looked like a much better long-term bet at shortstop; Jack still looks like Jerry Seinfeld. But then, looks can be deceiving since by all accounts Zduriencik is a terrific guy even though he looks like Benito Mussolini.


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