He’s changed teams at least nine times during his decade in pro baseball. The latest switch is patently the biggest because it finally gets Mike Wilson to the big leagues. The Tacoma outfielder is slated to catch up with the Mariners in Baltimore Tuesday (May 10) and should start immediately.
I wrote last week that it might be time for the Seattle managers to try to mine what talent could be found in Tacoma (and beyond), and bench (Milton Bradley) and send down (Michael Saunders) unproductive players. I cited Wilson as that which any box-score-savvy 9-year-old could see as potential help.
Calling up Wilson was just the first move of the day. The Mariners then announced that they had designated both Bradley and another veteran outfielder, Ryan Langerhans, for assignment. And the team called up a second young outfielder, Carlos Peguero, whom they described as having "considerable power potential."
Fans (I’m not one; I just write about these guys) have been showing their enmity for the run-empty innings piling up this season, one that, with an extra run here and there, could have the club at 19-16 instead of the inverse.
Wilson? He might not be the lineup savior the M’s have been seeking but it doesn’t hurt to try him. Last season he hit .273 in 88 Rainiers games. Not incidentally, 17 of his 78 hits were home runs.
In 16 games this year, Wilson is at a .381 clip. If that merely translates to .281 in the majors it would make him among the big club’s best half-dozen threats on offense.
More to the point: Wilson could take away an outfield position from Saunders or Bradley: a goal worthy unto itself. Yes, Saunders had a sensational catch during the weekend. Yes, he’s also seemingly 0 for about his past three-dozen plate appearances. His idea of a quality at-bat is staring down a pair of strikes and waiting for a ball out of the zone that he can pop up to shallow outfield to end an inning. He seems particularly ineffectual when a game’s on the line.
As for Bradley, he’s what is left over from Bill Bavasi’s Carlos Silva “deal,” perhaps the worst transaction in team history and made perennially more costly because the price for jettisoning Silva was taking Bradley and his inflated salary.
In any case, bringing up Wilson is an obvious sign that field boss Eric Wedge can get his way. Wedge went mental Sunday after the club blew a chance at beating the White Sox in the ninth inning, then lost 5-2 in 10. The manager demanded better offensive performance, no doubt knowing little potential help was apparent unless a new bat was imported.
Many observers figured Dustin Ackley would be the first call-up from Tacoma but the designated second-baseman-of-the-future is still figuring out how to hit triple-A pitching. Here’s a simple tip: Just do what Mike Wilson was doing and you’ll get plenty of hits.