Jack Wilson: “I’ll play every day soon”

NEW YORK — Mariners infielder Jack Wilson is currently a man with little purpose.

The good thing is that since he hardly plays and hardly has a role, Wilson (pictured above by The Associated Press) isn’t really affected much by the Mariners’ current 16-game losing streak. The bad thing is Wilson has been exiled from the starting lineup, and with Brendan Ryan entrenched at shortstop and Dustin Ackley being the future at second base, Wilson has no role on this team.

Speaking to me prior to Monday’s Yankees-Mariners game, Wilson sounded like a man who’s ready to move on.

” It’s been really tough,” he said. “I’ll play every day soon. I think just what happened here, the bottom line is that what I can do, what I’ve done my whole career, they already have one. They have Brendan Ryan. I’m a shortstop. Being a second baseman, it’s more of an offensive position. So I think being a defensive shortstop and the fact that they went in another direction, I just kind of got caught in between, and really there’s no place for me to play. Being a free agent at the end of the year, I can hopefully get a chance to show a team that I can still do that on an everyday basis. So I’m looking forward to it.”

It’s no secret Wilson — the Pirates’ everyday shortstop from 2001-07, who was beset by injuries from 2008-10 — was none too thrilled when first-year manager Eric Wedge gave Ryan his position, then put Wilson at second base.

At one point, Wilson asked out of a game after making two errors. The old-school Wedge wasn’t happy about that. And now, the 33-year-old Wilson is essentially stuck in purgatory.

He says he hasn’t demanded a trade, but he would like a change of scenery sooner or later.

“I signed here for two years,” Wilson said, “but at the same time, I intended on playing, especially this year. After last year being injured, I just wanted to come in and be healthy so I can be out there every day. With this team, with the direction they went to, I’m just kind of the odd man out. So, I’m just looking forward to an opportunity for when it shows up again.”

Wilson is still one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball and sports a career .266 batting average and .307 on-base percentage. This year, he’s hitting .229 with a .259 on-base percentage and zero homers in 142 plate appearances.

At this point, the Mariners are probably holding on to him because they simply won’t get much, if anything, in return. Wilson may slip through waivers unclaimed if he were designated for assignment, but I’m thinking a contending team in need of a security blanket at shortstop — Brewers? Tigers? Giants? Diamondbacks? — could maybe take a shot for a PTBNL or cash considerations.

Wilson is making $5 million in the final season of a two-year deal he signed in 2009.

And he doesn’t believe being typecast into a backup role with the Mariners means he won’t be an everyday shortstop again.

“You’ve seen it with other players before,” Wilson said. “I mean, Jose Bautista was not an everyday player for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Same thing happened here last year with Casey Kotchman, and now you see what he’s doing. It’s one of those things where you remember the feeling that you have, because it’s not a fun feeling, coming in, watching every day. So you remember that, you take it in the offseason, you work hard, and hopefully a team sees you as an everyday player.”

— Alden

Check out Tuesday’s column on the Mariners and their 16-game losing streak.


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