Some Quick Thoughts On Wilkerson

  • Don't pay much attention to all the versatility talk - Wilkerson's being brought in to be the starting right fielder. For all intents and purposes, Adam Jones is no longer a Mariner.

  • Wilkerson's coming in on a small contract ($3m + incentives), and if we weren't the only team offering him a starting job, we were definitely one of the few. So his level of job security should be pretty low. If he's not platooned with Wlad right out of ST, it'll still be a constant possibility, and should Wlad start to tear it up then Wilkerson will probably need to flip out in order to avoid a drop in playing time. Unless the team decides to focus on his veteran status, in which case, um.

  • In his peak, Wilkerson was a strong offensive player. That peak is not coming back. What he is right now is a low-BA bat with above-average power, a patient approach, and a shit-ton of strikeouts. The left-handedness is a valuable asset, as are the walks, but he's not the kind of guy who's ever going to carry the lineup, and he's really close to the end. I'm not going to predict doom and gloom, because I think he could be decent, but if he turns into 2007 Richie Sexson, don't say you weren't warned. It's a very real possibility.

  • Defensively, he used to be all right, having logged a bunch of time in center for the Expos. But over time his body started to come apart, and at this point he's no longer a good glove. I recently called him ~average, but after going through the numbers, I think average is probably his upside. Seems to me he's more like -15 < x < -5, with 0 only attainable if he somehow stays in good health all year. He'll still probably represent a defensive improvement over Guillen, whose numbers slipped due to some lower-body issues.

I don't hate this move. I mean, I hate that it's happening because we're trading Adam Jones, but ignoring everything else, Wilkerson's okay, and might have represented the best RF still on the market. If he can stay healthy enough and take a little advantage of the right field porch, he'll have been a good find at a low price, much like Guillen a year ago. And if he sucks, then in theory we can either give him the boot or send him to the bench.

But with that said, this move is still dangerous. Wilkerson's never going to get back to his peak, but he could very possibly end up a big bag of suck, a black hole in a lineup that already has too many question marks. The benefit of this being a cheap one-year contract is that it won't kill us if we have to let him go, but this year's Mariners are going to need every win they can get, so they can ill afford to run with a problem RF for however long it takes them to get help. For our own sake, we better hope that Wlad takes some major steps forward pretty quick, just to be safe. Because the only guarantee anyone can make about Brad Wilkerson is that he's going to pile up the strikeouts. Everything else is up in the air.

The casual fan is not going to like Brad Wilkerson. Here's hoping he doesn't give us reason to agree with them.

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