Craig Wilson

For other uses, see: Craig Wilson (disambiguation).

Craig Allan Wilson (born November 30, 1976 in Fountain Valley, California) is a baseball player currently playing with the Seattle Mariners. Wilson can play first base or in the outfield. He bats and throws right-handed.

Early career

Wilson played high school ball at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, California, and was drafted as a catcher out of high school by the Toronto Blue Jays. The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired the rights to Wilson before the season, and gradually moved him to first base and the outfield. After several years in the minor leagues, Wilson was called up to the big-league club in .

Major League career

After three years as a role player and pinch-hitter, Wilson played regularly in , hitting .264 with 29 home runs and 82 RBI in 155 games, but posted a franchise-record 169 strikeouts in 561 at bats. He led the Major Leagues at being hit by pitches in (21) and 2004 (30). Wilson tied the Major League single-season record for pinch-hit home runs with seven in 2001.

In , Wilson played in only 59 games as a result of two separate hand injuries that caused him to spend over half the season on the disabled list, playing in only five games between May 6 and August 28. He ended the season with a .264 batting average, 5 home runs, and 22 RBI in 197 at bats.

Through Wilson's career as a Pirate, he had frequently been dogged by trade rumors. In , with the acquisition of Jeromy Burnitz, members of the Pittsburgh press asserted that the Pirates, despite Wilson's relative success, were trying to trade him. At the trade deadline of the 2006 season, Wilson was traded to the New York Yankees for Shawn Chacon. According to the New York Post, at least one general manager in the National League found the deal inexplicable from the Pirates' standpoint. Voicing the opinion that Pirates GM Dave Littlefield had undersold Wilson, the anonymous GM was quoted as saying, "We really thought Wilson was a guy a lot of AL teams would be interested in. He is a high strikeout guy, but he can hit a fastball, damage lefty pitching, and not embarrass himself in right field or at first.

Overall in 2006, Craig batted .251 with 17 home runs and 49 RBI. Though he only batted 359 times, he struck out 122 times. The Yankees didn't re-sign him, causing him to become a free agent.

The Atlanta Braves signed Wilson to a one-year contract worth $2 million USD on January 18, . After 40 games of the 2007 season with the Braves, Wilson was granted his unconditional release on May 17, 2007, to make room for Brayan Peña on the roster. On May 28, 2007, he signed a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox, but ended up undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in June. Wilson was released by the White Sox at the end of the 2007 season. On February 9, , Wilson signed a minor league contract with an invite to spring training with the Cincinnati Reds, but was released on February 21 after failing a physical. On April 8, 2008, he signed a minor league deal to return to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

On July 10, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later.

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