Mariners sign shortstop Wilson for $10 million

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jack wilson.jpgThe marriage didn’t start off as anyone wanted, but the Mariners announced on Friday that they’ve re-signed free agent Jack Wilson to a two-year deal through 2011. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic says the contract is worth $10 million.
Wilson was a bust in his first two months with the team after coming over from the Pirates along with Ian Snell for Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno and prospects. He played in just 31 games, hitting .224/.263/.299 in 107 at-bats, before missing the final three weeks with a heel injury.
He also struggled defensively, committing five errors. That’s the same number he totaled in 80 starts during an injury-plagued 2008 season. He was involved in just 17 double plays or .55 per start. That’s well down from his career rate of .75 per game started.
Wilson may be the game’s steadiest shortstop when healthy. His high for errors in a season is 18, and he still has well above average range even at age 32. He’s never won a Gold Glove, but he deserved a couple in the early part of the decade.
Offense is, of course, a major problem. Wilson has finished with OPSs below 700 seven times in nine seasons. He’s a career .268/.310/.374 hitter, with 98 percent of his at-bats coming in the easier league. He’s also battled durability issues of late. He averaged 148 games per year from 2002-07, but he slipped to 87 in 2008 and 106 last season.
With no future shortstop on the horizon, it’s hard to blame the Mariners for re-signing Wilson. They still need to go get themselves a legitimate backup to protect themselves, though. As long as Wilson hits ninth, limiting the damage he can do to the offense, he’s a perfectly adequate regular and a big upgrade over what the Mariners were getting from Yuniesky Betancourt.

Yordano Ventura killed in an auto accident

CLEVELAND, OH -  JUNE 2:  Starting pitcher Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals jokes with teammates as he walks off the field after the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on June 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.

Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.

Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.

Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.

Report: Tim Lincecum is not ready for retirement

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 29:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 29, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).

Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.

While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.