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.

Mariners give manager Scott Servais a multi-year contract extension

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Two weeks ago the Seattle Mariners gave GM Jerry Dipoto a contract extension. Today they did the same for manager Scott Servais. They are calling it a “multi-year contract extension,” though the exact number of years and the money is not reported. The money rarely is reported for the managers.

Servais has a record of 222–199 (.527) midway through his third season as the M’s skipper. That, actually, makes him the fourth-winningest manager in Mariners history if you can believe it. Twenty men have held that job. A lot of them helmed some pretty bad teams.

The Mariners released a quote from Dipoto regarding Servais:

“Scott has created a culture here in Seattle that allows players to be successful,” Dipoto said. “They are encouraged to be themselves, which has resulted in a loose environment, while still maintaining the focus on team above self. His leadership has also been evident through the ongoing growth and impact of one of the best coaching staffs in Major League Baseball.

“He has been the right leader at the right time for the right team and I look forward to many more years together.”

The Mariners are currently 58–39, good for the fourth-best record in the Major Leagues. If the season ended today they’d be in the playoffs for the first time since 2001, baseball’s longest postseason drought.