The Texas Rangers drafted Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the minor league version of baseball’s Rule 5 draft, a move that was quickly dismissed by many as a silly publicity stunt. However, it is possible that both the Rangers and Wilson could benefit from Wilson returning to the diamond in two years.
The intricacies of the Rule 5 draft are a bit complicated, but the important point is that the Rangers basically purchased Wilson’s baseball rights from the Rockies for $US12,000.
In the baseball world, that is a small cost with a potential huge upside.
As a third round pick in the NFL draft, Wilson has been an amazing steal for the Seahawks. But it also means he is grossly underpaid, making just $US526,217 this season and just $US3.0 million total in his first four years (if 2015 is not renegotiated).
Compare that to Andrew Luck, the first pick of the same draft, who will make $US22.1 million in the same time span (right).
Under the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, Wilson cannot renegotiate his contract until after the 2014 season and he won’t be a free agent until after the 2015 season.
Wilson could use the threat of baseball as leverage during negotiations following the 2014 season. There was already one report that Wilson asked for a new contract (something that is not possible at this time).
Wilson could even go play minor league baseball for the Rangers in the summer of 2015. At the very least Wilson would get negotiating leverage and a chance to play his second favourite sport for a few months, and The Rangers would get some buzz and ticket sales for their minor league team.
The upside is that Wilson proves to be big league potential. He hit just .229 in 93 minor league games in 2010 and 2011. But Wilson also posted a .354 OBP and clearly has enough athletic ability to play second base at the big league level.
If it worked out, Wilson would be sitting a gold mine, with baseball’s larger, guaranteed contracts, and longer careers.
That is a long-shot at this point. But we shouldn’t be surprised if Wilson returns to baseball in 2015 in an attempt to get a better contract from the Seahawks.
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