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Trading For Jack Wilson Would Be a Very Bad Move

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In an MLive.com article from Thursday afternoon, Steve Kornacki discussed what the Tigers must do to win the division. I didn’t really agree with much of what he said in the trade deadline portion of the article, but my biggest beef came with this statement:

"A trade that could make a difference without costing much is picking up shortstop Jack Wilson from the Seattle Mariners."

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard talk of the Tigers trading for Wilson this year, and that’s what made me so upset. My biggest problem with the deal is that Jack Wilson would immediately become the third best shortstop on the team. Do we overlook Ramon Santiago (and Danny Worth) so much that we think adding Jack Wilson will make this team better? (Comparisons after the jump)

The biggest point of contention most people seem to have with our current shortstop regime is the perceived lack of hitting. Jack Wilson would do nothing to help this situation (read: he would hurt that situation).

Only three times, in his ten year career, has he hit for a wOBA higher than 0.300, with the most recent time being back in 2007. The ZiPS rest-of-season projection for Wilson this year is .250/.289/.350, which is good for a wOBA of .281. Santiago, on the other hand, has eclipsed the 0.300 wOBA mark in each of the last four seasons. He is projected to hit .261/.329/.358 (.308 wOBA) for the remainder of the season by ZiPS. The difference in projected wOBA for these two guys is five runs in 250 plate appearances (in Santiago’s favor, of course).

But hitting is only one side of the equation. Wilson has played 341 innings at short this year, and in that time, UZR has awarded him -0.6 runs. For comparison, Santiago has been +5.5 runs in 416 innings. But in fairness, one year of UZR doesn’t tell us much about a fielder’s true ability. Since 2007, Wilson has been +22.8 runs (3,097 innings) in UZR, and Santiago has been +8.1 runs (1,332.1 innings). Those numbers are pretty close if you look at runs saved per inning (with a slight advantage to Wilson). The difference would be something in the neighborhood of 0.5 runs for the rest of this season.

Jack is 32 years old, and on the downside of his career, so there’s really no reason for us to suspect he’ll play better in Detroit than he has in his previous three or four seasons. As I showed last week, the Tigers don’t need to add a shortstop; they need to add a good shortstop. Sure, Wilson wouldn’t cost much minor league talent to acquire, but he would cost the team runs once he got here. He hasn’t hit a lick in a few years, and his defense wouldn’t be an automatic improvement. You simply don’t make trades that would make your team worse. Sorry Mr. Kornacki, but trading for Jack Wilson would be a bad move.