Free agency has done a number of good things for the game of baseball and professional sports at large. Athletes are no longer mercy to their team's owners and are free to negotiate a fair market price for their services. Many may disagree with the actual price -- just read any comment section of an article about Max Scherzer from the past three months -- but our current situation is much better than the years of the Reserve Clause.
One by-product of free agency is the advent of the journeyman player. It's too harsh to say that they "aren't good enough" to stick with one team, because a number of teams have considered their skills useful. The poster child of journeyman players is Octavio Dotel, who played for a record 13 MLB teams in his career, including the Tigers. He accumulated 109 saves and 14.9 WAR in his 15-year career, totals that just about any MLB reliever would love to have when they hang up their spikes.
Utility infielder Josh Wilson hasn't had quite as prolific a career, but he is just as well-traveled as Dotel. Wilson signed a minor league contract with the Tigers earlier this offseason, making them the 13th organization he has played for during his professional career. However, unlike Dotel, Wilson has not suited up for all 13 of those clubs in the major leagues, and he will not be tying any records in 2015. He will, however, be providing middle infield depth for an organization that has seen its stock depleted over the course of the offseason.
Where did he come from?
Wilson, a Pittsburgh native, was drafted out of high school by the Florida Marlins in the third round of the 1999 draft. An alumnus of Mount Lebanon High School, the same high school that Don Kelly graduated from two years later, Wilson moved slowly through the minor leagues. He did not make his MLB debut until September of 2005, when he hit .100 with a .182 on-base percentage in 11 games for the Marlins. He spent the 2006 season in the Colorado Rockies organization, but did not see any playing time in the major leagues.
Then, the madness started. Over the next three seasons, Wilson would spent time in seven different organizations. The Washington Nationals signed him as a free agent, but lost him to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on waivers. Then he went to his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, but finished the 2008 season with the Boston Red Sox. In 2009, he stayed out on the west coast, playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, and Seattle Mariners.
He found a hint of stability with the Mariners, staying with them through the 2010 season. He has been on the move ever since, playing for the Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, Diamondbacks (again), and Texas Rangers. If you're keeping count, this makes the Tigers Wilson's 13th organization of his career. However, since he did not appear in the major leagues for the Rockies, Pirates, Red Sox, or Braves, he is not poised to tie Octavio Dotel's infamous journeyman record.
Despite being drafted during the Clinton administration, Wilson has only accumulated 1149 plate appearances during his MLB career, or less than former Marlins teammate Miguel Cabrera has in the past two seasons. There's a reason for this; Wilson is a career .226/.278/.316 hitter with 10 home runs and 79 RBI on his résumé. The bulk of his playing time came with the Mariners in 2009 and 2010, when he hit ..233/.282/.321 in 526 plate appearances. Last year, he compiled a .271 on-base percentage in 24 games for the Rangers.
Defensively, Wilson has spent the majority of his time at shortstop, but he has primarily played second base over the past couple seasons. His inning totals are far too small to properly assess his abilities at either position with advanced defensive metrics, but Baseball Reference has awarded him 1.6 defensive WAR for his career. If standard metrics are your thing, he has a .955 fielding percentage at short and .979 at second base.
What should we expect from him?
Unlike the other players on the Tigers' non-roster invitee list, the 33-year-old Wilson doesn't have much projection left. He's a utility infielder who will provide infield depth and guidance for some of the younger players in the system. Both Andrew Romine and Hernan Perez will have a significant leg up over Wilson on making the 25-man roster, and it will probably take a rash of injuries for Wilson to see any significant time with the Tigers this season.