By trading Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers for Prince Fielder, the Texas Rangers found themselves with a vacancy at second base. Sure, the position could be filled by the promising Jurickson Profar, but why not see if NFL Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson is interested?
The Rangers selected the Seahawks signal caller with the 15th pick in Thursday’s Rule 5 MLB Draft at the Winter Meetings. Previously a 41st-round pick by the Baltimore Orioles out of Collegiate School, a fourth-round pick by the Colorado Rockies in June 2010 and a third-round pick of Seattle in the 2012 NFL Draft, Wilson played 93 games in the Colorado organization as a second basemen before becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
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Contrary to popular belief, Rangers pro scouting director Josh Boyd assured reporters the Rangers put “serious consideration” into the pick:
“We felt it was an opportunity to add a special person, competitor and leader to our organization, even if it doesn’t develop into anything more than a name on a piece of paper. If there is a chance for him to get some face time with our young players in spring training or anytime, we viewed that as a huge value to our development system, potentially.”
Boyd and the rest of the organization just hope Russell Wilson doesn’t convince any prospects to turn to the NFL like he did. After being selected by the Seahawks and signing for nearly $3 million, Wilson was required to repay a chunk of his $200,000 signing bonus with the Rockies but remained on the minor league restricted list. The Rangers purchased Wilson’s rights from the Rockies for $12,000; essentially his wages earned Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.
Wilson played for the Tri-City Dust Devils (Class Short-Season A) and the Asheville Tourists (Class A) between the 2010 and 2011 seasons. In his brief minor league career, Wilson hit .229/.354/.356 with five home runs and 19 stolen bases. In a Seahawks uniform, he’s come within one win of the Super Bowl and is on pace to do the same this season. Suffice it to say, he made the right decision.
This is the second time the Rangers have tried to lure an NFL-bound player. In the hopes of turning Ricky “Marijuana is my Popeye Spinach” Williams into the next Bo Jackson, the Rangers selected him in the 1998 Rule 5 draft after he played in 170 games as a Philadelphia Phillies Class-A outfielder. It’s harder to see where their mind was then, as Williams did not possess the intangibles the Rangers saw in Wilson.
The selection of Russell Wilson will likely be inconsequential. He will continue to quarterback the 11-2 Seahawks toward a playoff berth, and the Rangers will, at most, get a great speaker at spring raining.
However, the pick certainly did bring the otherwise dull 2013 Winter Meetings to an entertaining close. It also ensured that Seattle head coach Pete Carroll will have a bodyguard on Wilson the next time the Seahawks play the Houston Texans or Dallas Cowboys so he is not kept hostage at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.