Before last season, any time the name C.J. Wilson was muttered, there was usually a pause with a loud audible “Oh god”. In his days as a reliever, set up man and closer for the Texas Rangers, he was inconsistent to say the least. You never knew what was going to happen when he took the mound, and that usually ranged from a quick 3 out inning to a complete meltdown and not surviving the inning. But for fans and even in the organization, there was always a glimmer of hope and thought he could turn it around and become something special.
Fast forward to last year, as the team entered spring training, C.J. said he wanted to become a starter and the team decided to humor him, just to keep him happy. But there were no aspirations of making him a full time starter. But in typical C.J. fashion, he found a way to impress and got into the starting rotation as a 3rd or 4th starter. Once the season started, he turned out to be one of the more reliable starters in the rotation. As the season wore on, it became clear that he had finally found his niche, and his “C.J” moments on the mound became fewer than previously thought possible.
As the season drug on and it came closer to the trade deadline, there was a rumor that the Rangers were considering Cliff Lee, while this was a pipe dream, there was still a glimmer of hope under the new owners. Once the news came down that the trade was in fact a reality, fans just went bonkers. What nobody saw though was the excitement of C.J. himself, this would be his opportunity to learn under a true “ace” and get pointers to help him down the road. While Cliff Lee was less than stellar in his time here, he made an impression on the pitching staff, but mostly Wilson, who would spend hours quizzing Lee and taking in pointers.
After a stellar playoff run and some really great performances by Wilson, it came clear during the off season that Lee wouldn’t return to the Rangers, and this team would now be in search of an “ace” for the upcoming season. While the team searched high and low throughout the majors for the next number one pitcher, C.J. Wilson kept working and striving to improve from last year.
Now the team is in training camp and manager Ron Washington has already announced that C.J. Wilson, the most tenured pitcher on the Rangers staff will be our opening day starter. He has come a long way during his time with the Rangers, and starting with this upcoming season, he is now going to be the one pitcher who can set the tone for this staff. C.J. Wilson is no longer cursed and berated when his name is announced; he will be cheered and applauded when he takes the mound on opening day. He has now made it full circle and can cement his place as the unlikely ace in this rotation with another strong showing this season.