Mariners sign Wilson to two-year deal
Contract will keep shortstop in Seattle through 2011
Mariners shortstop Jack Wilson will be the first to admit that he didn't finish the 2009 season the way he had hoped or planned.
He'll have at least two more seasons to make himself feel better.
On Friday the Mariners made it clear that they believe in Wilson and his future, signing him to a two-year deal through 2011.
"When we acquired Jack in the summertime, one of the things we envisioned is that he would be part of the organization as we move forward," general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a conference call. "We were looking to upgrade and solidify our shortstop position. I am extremely happy that he is going to be with us for the next few years."
Wilson, who will turn 32 on Dec. 29, was acquired from the Pirates on July 29, along with right-hander Ian Snell, in exchange for infielder Ronny Cedeño, catcher Jeff Clement and three Minor League pitchers. He had an $8.4 million option for 2010, or the club could have paid a $600,000 buyout on that, but the two sides came to an agreement.
According to terms obtained by The Associated Press, Wilson gets $5 million in each of the next two seasons and can earn $250,000 a year in performance bonuses: $50,000 for 450 plate appearances, and $100,000 each for 500 and 550 plate appearances.
But the Mariners need to see him at the plate. Wilson missed several weeks with a hamstring injury and a bruised right heel, limiting him to just 31 games after the trade. He hit .224 with one homer. On Friday he said that he is completely healthy and already training for 2010.
"I did not accomplish what I wanted to accomplish when I came over," Wilson said. "I was so ready for the year to be over, everything kind of went wrong. The only good thing was me getting traded over to Seattle, a top-notch organization. I'm really happy to have the chance to come back and show what Jack saw in bringing me over."
Wilson's season was not completely lost. He earned the Fielding Bible Award as the best fielding shortstop in the Majors in 2009, with 27 runs saved. In 1,143 starts at shortstop, he has recorded a .977 fielding percentage.
Now he wants to win.
"I'm really excited to be back in Seattle," he said. "It's such a great organization, and there is such a chance to compete. I have a lot of high hopes for this team. I'm really glad to have a chance to be a part of it."
During his conference call, Wilson praised his teammates, the city and the fans. He also said he is better equipped for the challenges of the American League.
"I think I saw enough of the American League in the time I was there, plus Interleague Play the last couple of years, to know that I can make an adjustment to a different style of game, so I'm really excited about it," he said. "There's nothing like a rough year to give you that extra incentive to do a little more in the offseason. There's always a positive in something."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.