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Monday, April 20, 2009

Brad Wilkerson retires after eight-year career

“There are some who start their retirement long before they stop working.” 

After an eight-year major-league career, outfielder Brad Wilkerson has retired, said Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson.

After Pawtucket’s second game of the season, Wilkerson went into Johnson’s office and told him that his time in baseball was done.

“Second game of the season, he came in afterwards and that was it,” Johnson said. “He didn’t have the fire anymore.”

Wilkerson, who once hit 32 home runs for the Montreal Expos, is still technically on the Pawtucket roster, listed as temporarily inactive.

Repoz Posted: April 20, 2009 at 12:18 AM | 56 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Crashburn Alley Posted: April 20, 2009 at 12:40 AM (#3145007)
When he was with the Expos, I despised Brad Wilkerson. He was one of those vaunted Phillie killers: .920 OPS in 343 plate appearances against the Phils. That's the highest OPS against any opponent against which he's had 150 or more PA.
   2. Jeff K. Posted: April 20, 2009 at 12:44 AM (#3145013)
#######, has it only been 3 years (baseball seasons) since the Soriano/Wilkerson trade? I don't honestly remember exactly what I thought at the time, though I know that I didn't think it was a bad trade. I certainly didn't conceive it would turn out as #### as it did.

Damn close to deserving ROY, though it's hard to argue against Jennings. Yeah, only a 106 ERA+, but 16-8 in Colorado as a rookie is impressive. And oh yeah, he went .306/.348/.371 himself at the plate.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 20, 2009 at 01:03 AM (#3145026)
Wow, I called for the Royals to sign this guy to a two year deal instead of Guillen. I never thought anyone could make the Guillen signing look good, but Wilkerson has done it. He just fell off a cliff. Injuries?
   4. Esoteric Posted: April 20, 2009 at 01:05 AM (#3145028)
Wow, I called for the Royals to sign this guy to a two year deal instead of Guillen. I never thought anyone could make the Guillen signing look good, but Wilkerson has done it. He just fell off a cliff. Injuries?
He was forced to stop juicing after 2004/2005.

Not kidding. Wilkerson was entirely a creation of steroids.
   5. Quinton McCracken's BFF Posted: April 20, 2009 at 01:07 AM (#3145032)
There goes one of my faves :(
   6. RJ in TO Posted: April 20, 2009 at 01:11 AM (#3145036)
Injuries?

He had all sorts of shoulder problems, which sapped his power and destroyed his swing.

I can't comment on anything which Esoteric has said, as I haven't heard those rumours.

Incidentally, I can't believe that he was only in the league for eight years. It seems like it was a lot longer.
   7. Danny Posted: April 20, 2009 at 01:20 AM (#3145046)
He was forced to stop juicing after 2004/2005.

Not kidding. Wilkerson was entirely a creation of steroids.

He pretty clearly had injury problems with his shoulder.

And why would he have been forced to stop juicing after 2004/2005?
   8. Chris Needham Posted: April 20, 2009 at 01:24 AM (#3145048)
I think I mentioned it in the last Wilkerson thread a few weeks back, but about a year after he left, Boz had a column on steroids that mentioned that the Nats had dealt away a player because they knew (figured?) he used steroids, and that the testing program would mean he'd be likely to decline.

There were a few other details in it that made it so that there was likely no one else it could be but Wilkerson.

So for whatever that's worth... If true, at least, maybe Jim Bowden occasionally knew what he was doing.
   9. Chris Needham Posted: April 20, 2009 at 01:27 AM (#3145050)
Here's Boz:

Three years ago, every baseball player was a suspected cheat. In '05, new Nats GM Jim Bowden stared at a player who'd been an Expos standout. "He looks smaller this year," Bowden said. By the next year the player had been traded.
   10. CFBF Is The Victim of Unfathomable Pinheadery Posted: April 20, 2009 at 01:47 AM (#3145063)
I've seen Wilkerson's file in the Florida Sports Info Department's archives; the thing is like a couple Tom Clancy novels pasted together. Superstar hitter in Gainesville, but he was also a really nice pitcher. Some unimpressive high-4 ERAs, as you would expect from a college pitcher in the late 90's, but he struck out more than a batter per inning over a large sample size.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: April 20, 2009 at 02:02 AM (#3145071)
#######, has it only been 3 years (baseball seasons) since the Soriano/Wilkerson trade? I don't honestly remember exactly what I thought at the time, though I know that I didn't think it was a bad trade.


Exactly my thought.
   12. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: April 20, 2009 at 02:11 AM (#3145075)
To be fair, Jim Bowden is an idiot, so him thinking that Wilkerson was a user doesn't mean anything. Nor for that matter does him thinking that he "looks smaller" actually mean that he looked smaller.
   13. Jeff K. Posted: April 20, 2009 at 02:25 AM (#3145085)
Damnit. I knew I was going to regret not checking on this. Yeah, so when I said I didn't remember exactly what I thought of the trade? I wrote the BTF season preview for the Rangers for 2006. Because that season was the season of The Blogpark in Arlington here. It seems like just yesterday that the Young/Eaton trade happened, and a decade since Soriano/Wilkerson, when they were a month apart. So, let's see what I had to say, hmm...

December 12th – The Rangers acquire Vicente Padilla from the Philadelphia Phillies for a player to be named later, which quickly turns out to be Ricardo Rodriguez.

December 13th – In their best off-season move, the Rangers acquire Brad Wilkerson, Terrmel Sledge, and Armando Galarraga from Washington in exchange for 2B/OF/malcontent Alfonso Soriano.

December 29th – The Rangers sign Kevin Millwood to a 5 year, 62 million dollar contract.

January 4th – The Rangers acquire Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka, and Billy Killian in exchange for Chris Young, Adrian Gonzalez, and Terrmel Sledge (official date, the trade was consummated on December 20th)


I might be right, still, looking at it. Well, not really. Padilla for #### tops it. But ####### ick.

Later: The incoming Brad Wilkerson brings a good on-base percentage, but is forced by Laynce Nix’s injury to start the season in center field. The Rangers will use this season to determine if Wilkerson is a long-term solution in the outfield, or if they can package his reasonable contract and underrated skillset into something else.

Not bad.
   14. Danny Posted: April 20, 2009 at 02:30 AM (#3145090)
Assuming Wilkerson was on steroids, and that Bowden knew, I still don't see why Wilkerson was forced to stop using steroids after he apparently had been using them for the first year or two of testing/punishments.
   15. Jeff K. Posted: April 20, 2009 at 02:31 AM (#3145091)
Good discussion here in the Blogpark thread about the Millwood signing, harkening back to Wilkerson/Soriano a few weeks prior.

Matt Welch, collect your prize at the door. I'll take the one for the Millwood signing.
   16. rfloh Posted: April 20, 2009 at 02:51 AM (#3145105)


Three years ago, every baseball player was a suspected cheat. In '05, new Nats GM Jim Bowden stared at a player who'd been an Expos standout. "He looks smaller this year," Bowden said. By the next year the player had been traded.


What idiocy.

It isn't all that big a surprise that someone with a seriously injured shoulder, and also IIRC nerve problems in his elbow, cannot train anywhere at the level that he did. Thus, he loses muscle, and looks smaller.

But let me guess, if he was using steroids, the shoulder / elbow problems would not have occurred.
   17. Chris in Wicker Park Posted: April 20, 2009 at 03:19 AM (#3145123)
I can't say it better than Larry, so I won't try.
   18. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: April 20, 2009 at 03:26 AM (#3145128)
I remember when the Wilkerson for Soriano deal was made and the consensus here was that Texas got the better part of the deal. Oh how wrong we were.
   19. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: April 20, 2009 at 03:31 AM (#3145130)
   20. hokieneer Posted: April 20, 2009 at 03:33 AM (#3145133)
only a 8 years career, seems like he was around forever.
   21. crict Posted: April 20, 2009 at 03:52 AM (#3145144)
I just watched a Tv series on baseball in Quebec (in French) that of course focused on the Expos, which brought me down, way more than I thought it would. I didn't realize how much I had missed having a team. I've now moved next to a major league city, but it's not the same.

And then I come here and see that our last star, the guy who cried on the field that last night in Montreal, has to quit baseball.

Not the best night.
   22. Dan Szymborski Posted: April 20, 2009 at 03:59 AM (#3145152)
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/oracle/discussion/nats_acquired_soriano/

Man, I'm going to be hearing about that one for the rest of my life.

While I try not to cop out of wrong judgments, I don't think I would have said the same if the extent of his shoulder problems had been fully known at the time.
   23. Chris Needham Posted: April 20, 2009 at 04:00 AM (#3145155)
It isn't all that big a surprise that someone with a seriously injured shoulder, and also IIRC nerve problems in his elbow, cannot train anywhere at the level that he did. Thus, he loses muscle, and looks smaller.

My timing might be wrong, but I don't think he had any of those problems 'til '05.
   24. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 20, 2009 at 05:16 AM (#3145191)
Remaining "Last Expo Standing" candidates:
(* players who played at least one game for the Expos in the final season (2004))

Brian Schneider*
Orlando Cabrera*
Endy Chavez*
Juan Rivera*
Nick Johnson*
Maicer Izturis*
Ryan Church*
Livan Hernandez*
Scott Downs*
Luis Ayala*
Jon Rauch*
Shawn Hill*
Vladimir Guerrero
Michael Barrett
Javier Vazquez
Fernando Tatis
Bartolo Colon
Geoff Blum
Milton Bradley
Carl Pavano
Guillermo Mota
Miguel Batista
Ted Lilly
Matt Stairs
Randy Johnson (earliest Expo remaining : 1988)

Plus, there are some other Ex-Expos out there that might still make an appearance in 2009:
Pedro Martinez, for example.
   25. OrioleJMC Posted: April 20, 2009 at 05:23 AM (#3145196)
So who's gonna be the last Expo?? I thought Wilkerson had a good shot at it. Endy Chavez, Brendan Harris and Ryan Church look like the best bets from the 2004 team...given the health of Juan Rivera, Chad Cordero, and Nick Johnson.
   26. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: April 20, 2009 at 05:30 AM (#3145197)
Any wagers on the last Expo playing?
Nick Johnson and Milton Bradley are a few of the Expos left that are younger than me, but they are pretty injury prone. I'm thinking it could be Scott Downs--a little older, but lefty.
   27. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 20, 2009 at 05:41 AM (#3145200)
Izturis could have a run as a defensive bench player for a while.
   28. JJ1986 Posted: April 20, 2009 at 05:51 AM (#3145204)
I'd bet on Javy Vazquez.
   29. Juan V Posted: April 20, 2009 at 05:53 AM (#3145205)
Izturis could have a run as a defensive bench player for a while.


I initially thought that of Endy, but Maicer might be an even better bet.
   30. RJ in TO Posted: April 20, 2009 at 12:53 PM (#3145255)
Man, I'm going to be hearing about that one for the rest of my life.


You're probably in the clear on that one, since so many of us were also on the side of "Soriano for Wilkerson - Bowden, WTF?"
   31. BDC Posted: April 20, 2009 at 01:12 PM (#3145262)
the consensus here was that Texas got the better part of the deal

It was and still is an excellent trade, actually.

What was not such a good outcome was subsequently giving up Armando Galarraga for a bag of baseballs.
   32. Gamingboy Posted: April 20, 2009 at 01:13 PM (#3145263)
Sad. It had looked like he was going to have a promising career. Then the injuries hit.
   33. crict Posted: April 20, 2009 at 01:16 PM (#3145265)
List of former Expos: there's also Brendan Harris, Roy Corcoran and Raul Chavez.

Currently on DL: Chad Cordero, Jamey Carroll, Cliff Floyd, Claudio Vargas

I thought Jon Rauch might have a shot to be the last Expos, but since then he left his stuff in DC.
   34. zonk Posted: April 20, 2009 at 01:42 PM (#3145284)
Brendan Harris.

He's got a Chris Speier vibe to him and I can see Harris sticking around as utility man/sometimes starter on really bad teams for another 10 years.
   35. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 20, 2009 at 01:42 PM (#3145285)
I don't think I posted in the TO thread, but I believe my one contribution was wondering if moving to an easier position defensively would end up helping Soriano's offense since he wouldn't be spending so much time being concerned about his defense.

Something that is hard to quantify but I believe is real is how much borderline infield guys, especially second baseman, spend in terms of time/energy fusssing over their defense. And once freed of that mental burden how that equates to offensive uptick. Gregg Jefferies springs to mind.............
   36. Rancischley Leweschquens (Tim Wallach was my Hero) Posted: April 20, 2009 at 04:40 PM (#3145576)
   37. gef the talking mongoose Posted: April 20, 2009 at 04:55 PM (#3145592)
I remember when the Wilkerson for Soriano deal was made and the consensus here was that Texas got the better part of the deal. Oh how wrong we were.


I remember it well. I think I drafted Wilkerson in my fantasy league on the basis of that, which simply proves that I was an utter idiot for adhering to groupthink.

Same thing last year, which is how I wound up with Leprous Lastings "Next Ted Williams" Milledge.

Never again!
   38. PreservedFish Posted: April 20, 2009 at 05:10 PM (#3145611)
Leprous Lastings "Next Ted Williams" Milledge.


Huh. Now there is a doozy of an exaggeration. The talk on Milledge was exactly where between Marquis Grissom and Ray Lankford he would fall. Nobody ever called him the next Ted Williams. Maybe when he was in high school they might have called him the next Ken Griffey Jr.
   39. Delorians Posted: April 20, 2009 at 05:18 PM (#3145627)
New question (not definitively answerable for at least a couple of years:

Will he have the most valuable career of all players whose carrer is contained entirely in the 00's?

I nominate him as the leader in the clubhouse for now.
   40. RJ in TO Posted: April 20, 2009 at 05:32 PM (#3145645)
Huh. Now there is a doozy of an exaggeration. The talk on Milledge was exactly where between Marquis Grissom and Ray Lankford he would fall.


Are you sure about that?

I'm thinking that Dan might regret this one more than the Soriano TA.
   41. Banta Posted: April 20, 2009 at 05:37 PM (#3145649)
As sure as there's a Mets prospect, there's someone here overhyping him!

I swear, I'm not looking too closely at you, Rasky.
   42. PreservedFish Posted: April 20, 2009 at 06:03 PM (#3145678)
Do you think the groupthink on Soriano/Wilkerson would be the same if the trade were made this year?

I know it was only a few years ago, but there is no doubt that stathead think has been trending away from favoring "old player's skills" types. Ten years ago we were worshiping the crazy Beane outfields with Grieve, Stairs, Giambi, Becker, Berroa etc. And begging for Billy McMillon and Izzy Alcantara to get a shot. Now we are saying things like "Endy Chavez might be more valuable than Pat Burrell after you account for defense and baserunning." A sea change.

It's not an easy question because there were many other factors in the air, especially Soriano's impending free agency and his lack of a position.

But my hunch is that Wilkerson was favored in our analyses, despite the fact that the two were similarly productive hitters, simply because he had the better OBP. That this was the signature issue. And that everyone decided "tie goes to the guy with better OBP." Whereas today there might be more of a debate over the fact that Soriano was more talented and faster.
   43. Dan Szymborski Posted: April 20, 2009 at 06:14 PM (#3145689)
I still think the decision would be about the same. Soriano hacked away those years in Texas and looked generally disinterested and his defense was pretty awful.
   44. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 20, 2009 at 06:18 PM (#3145692)
But my hunch is that Wilkerson was favored in our analyses, despite the fact that the two were similarly productive hitters, simply because he had the better OBP. That this was the signature issue. And that everyone decided "tie goes to the guy with better OBP." Whereas today there might be more of a debate over the fact that Soriano was more talented and faster.

It also had to do with their parks, I think. Wilkerson was playing in RFK, Soriano in Texas, and alot of folks thought Soriano would regress significantly moving to the pitcher's park, whereas Wilkerson's power would recover moving to Texas.

Also, Soriano was coming off a season in which he hit .268/.309/.512 in Texas, and he'd hit .280/.324/.484 the year before. Those aren't exactly All-Star numbers in that park.
   45. PreservedFish Posted: April 20, 2009 at 06:29 PM (#3145705)
It also had to do with their parks, I think. Wilkerson was playing in RFK, Soriano in Texas, and alot of folks thought Soriano would regress significantly moving to the pitcher's park, whereas Wilkerson's power would recover moving to Texas.


Well, they each had a 3-year average OPS+ of 112.

Soriano was considered overrated, and the park was certainly a contributing factor. As were his good triple crown numbers, his Yankeeness, his stolen bases. But when it comes down to it, despite the generous OBP lead, Wilkerson was not a more productive hitter than Soriano. They were too close to call.
   46. Martin Hemner Posted: April 20, 2009 at 06:32 PM (#3145707)
Will he have the most valuable career of all players whose carrer is contained entirely in the 00's? I nominate him as the leader in the clubhouse for now.

Barring a new injury (and how we define the 00s), his main competition may be Ben Sheets, if he is done, and David Eckstein, if he doesn't hang around much longer. I think Brad is ahead of Eckstein, but not sure about how he fares against Sheets.
   47. fra paolo Posted: April 20, 2009 at 06:38 PM (#3145713)
PreservedFish in 42 makes a very good point. The 'groupthink' round here has developed over the years.

It would be interesting to know when the idea that there was a significant difference between the AL and the NL took hold on the 'groupthink', because that might have also been a factor in proving the Bowden-bashers wrong on this deal. If Soriano moved to a weaker league, and Wilko to the stronger, then there would be an improvement which we might not have taken into account during the 05/06 offseason. Wilko's entire experience in the AL has not been a happy one, it must be said. That it began with his age 29 season leaves us wondering how much was the age curve and how much the difference in leagues.

Bowden himself subsequently claimed that a look at a 'hit tracker' chart suggested Soriano might be suited to RFK. His home/road split in 06 was 24-22. OTOH, one might have expected the same for Wilkerson in TBIA. But it didn't, 5-10. (Adding 06 and 07, we get 17-18, though.)

Soriano was a year older and had been in decline (based on linear weights wins) for two seasons after an age 27 peak, so the doubters had reasonable evidence to assume Bowden had made a poor trade. Overall, though, Wilko looks like another brick in the 'old players' skills don't age well' edifice.
   48. CraigK Posted: April 20, 2009 at 06:43 PM (#3145717)
New question (not definitively answerable for at least a couple of years:

Will he have the most valuable career of all players whose carrer is contained entirely in the 00's?

I nominate him as the leader in the clubhouse for now.


No, no; I think it's very freaking answerable now.
   49. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 20, 2009 at 06:44 PM (#3145720)
I think Pujols will probably still be active in 2010.

Will he have the most valuable career of all players whose carrer is contained entirely in the 00's?

Let's see...other candidates would be Morgan Ensberg, Mark Prior and Mark Mulder. Rodrigo Lopez had a couple good years...Johnny Estrada won a Silver Slugger...it's possible that Jason Jennings or Ben Sheets will have injuries too bad to go beyond 2009.
   50. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 20, 2009 at 06:45 PM (#3145723)
"But my hunch is that Wilkerson was favored in our analyses, despite the fact that the two were similarly productive hitters, simply because he had the better OBP."

There were also, of course, the (significant) financial considerations.
   51. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 20, 2009 at 06:47 PM (#3145724)
Will he have the most valuable career of all players whose carrer is contained entirely in the 00's?

I nominate him as the leader in the clubhouse for now.

No, no; I think it's very freaking answerable now.


I interpretted the question to mean players whose ENTIRE CAREER was from 2000 to 2009.
Unless you know Pujols is retiring after this season, he won't count.
   52. JJ1986 Posted: April 20, 2009 at 06:47 PM (#3145725)
Marcus Giles doesn't have great career numbers, but he had a nice run before collapsing.
   53. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 20, 2009 at 06:47 PM (#3145726)
No, no; I think it's very freaking answerable now.

I think they meant career that starts after 2000 and ends before 2009.
   54. PreservedFish Posted: April 20, 2009 at 06:48 PM (#3145728)
Mark Prior?

Ben Sheets, if he never pitches again, might be an easy winner. But I suspect he'll pitch again.
   55. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 20, 2009 at 06:54 PM (#3145738)
Will he have the most valuable career of all players whose carrer is contained entirely in the 00's?

I nominate him as the leader in the clubhouse for now.


Not sure how he fares compared to other decades, but if he's the man, he's significantly worse than Leon Durham (80's) and Tom Tresh (60's).
   56. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 20, 2009 at 07:02 PM (#3145752)
Josh Phelps has a 110 OPS+ (225 Runs Created)
Brad Wilkerson has a 104 OPS+ (520 Runs Created)
Morgan Ensberg has a 113 OPS+ (384 Runs Created)
Craig Wilson has a 113 OPS+ (343 Runs Created)


Also, if Hideki Matsui retires after this season, he'll be up there too.

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