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The Tigers' Future Shortstop?

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Since everything seems to be pretty quiet around the Tigers this afternoon, I thought I'd delve into idle speculation. While reading Dave Sheinin's chat from earlier this week at washingtonpost.com, I noticed an answer that might pique a little bit of interest among you.

Annandale, Va.: Jack Wilson of the Pirates. Why would any other team want him? Overpaid and not very good.

Dave Sheinin: The only way a team needs Wilson is if they score enough runs to be able to afford a big, fat zero offensively from shortstop, and all they really need their shortstop to do is catch the ball. For example, at some point the Tigers will get rid of Sean Casey, move Carlos Guillen from shortstop and import another shortstop. They already score tons of runs and could use Wilson's defense. But I doubt that will happen this season. They have too good a thing going.

So what do you think about that? To be clear, I think Sheinin is just mentioning the Tigers as the type of team that might be interested in Wilson, rather than connecting the dots. But it's a topic of conversation to knock around with five hours to go until game time.

It looks like Pittsburgh wants to get rid of Wilson, especially after acquiring Cesar Izturis from the Cubs last week. And this is just a year after Wilson signed an extension with the team, which might tell you something about why the Pirates are in the position they're in year after year. So does the rumor that Dave Littlefield reportedly asked for Troy Glaus from the Blue Jays in exchange for Wilson.

So what are we talking about here? Wilson is a career .263/.305/.366 hitter. His best year was 2004 when he hit .308/.335/.459 with 11 home runs and 49 RBI, but he's come nowhere near a .300 batting average in his other seasons, so you might have to call that year a fluke. Depending on what defensive statistics you believe in (and I'm admittedly veering beyond my range of knowledge here), Wilson is currently second in the National League in range factor among shortstops at 4.88. He's sixth in zone rating at .838. His fielding percentage is .984 (which, if it keeps up, would be a career high for him).

Then there's the contract and money stuff. As I mentioned, Wilson signed a three-year, $20 million contract extension last year. His salary for this year is $5.25 million, while he's set to make $6.5 million next season and $7.25 million in 2009, the last year of the deal. The deal includes a club option for 2010 at $8.4 million with a $500,000 buyout.

As Sheinin said, I don't think such a deal would make sense for the Tigers this season. Guillen is tied for second in the majors with 19 errors and seems to struggle with his glove at times, but you can't move him to first base now. And if that move didn't take place, where would Wilson play? That's a lot of money for a late-inning defensive replacement or utility infielder.

But what about next season? Discuss amongst yourselves - while leaving comments, of course.