Vance Wilson's career with the Detroit Tigers already appeared to be over, with him blowing out his elbow while trying to rehabilitate from blowing it out the first time. That, and the Tigers signing not one, but two catchers this offseason. (You remember the offseason, right? Back when stuff was happening? Sometime in early December?) And don't forget future catching help possibly on the rise with Dusty Ryan and Alex Avila.
So even if Wilson was interested in continuing his rehab in the Tigers' organization, there just wasn't a place for him. But he found someplace else. Wilson signed a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals today, according to our buddy Sam Mellinger. He's expected to continue that rehabilitation throughout this coming season, and won't be in camp with the major leaguers during Spring Training.
And so ends a relationship with a player who reminded us just how important a back-up catcher could be. In 52 games during the 2006 season, hit .283/.304/.441 in 168 plate appearances, the best numbers of his career. And perhaps no hit was bigger for Wilson than the eighth-inning, two-run homer he smacked off Johan Santana, breaking up a scoreless duel with Justin Verlander in a key mid-May game. More important, of course, was the solid defense and game-calling he provided.
Signing with an AL Central rival, however, means that maybe we'll get to see Wilson again in the future. So we won't say goodbye, but good journey. Just take it easy with that rehabilitation, Vance. A third Tommy John surgery on that right elbow probably will not be the charm.