After trading for outfielder Matt Diaz Wednesday morning, adding a right-handed bat off the bench, the Braves acquired shortstop Jack Wilson from Seattle Wednesday night to shore up their middle infield.
They’d been looking for a solid backup for Alex Gonzalez at short and Dan Uggla at second, and they got a 33-year-old veteran and former All-Star for the Pirates. The Braves acquired Wilson along with cash considerations for a player to be named.
Wilson is on the disabled list with a bruised heel but has been cleared by doctors to play when he’s eligible on Saturday. Braves general manager Frank Wren had his special assistant Dick Balderson in Seattle Wednesday to watch Wilson go through his pre-game work and said he looked fine.
Wilson will be eligible for postseason play by virtue of being on the Braves roster as a disabled player before midnight Wednesday night. Since they won’t activate him until later in the week the Braves don’t have to make a corresponding move because rosters expand on Thursday.
“He gives us that middle infielder we’ve been looking for, backup and depth at both second and short and also can play third,” Wren said. “We all know what kind of gamer and athlete he is. We’re excited to get him because he really fits in well with the rest of our guys.”
Wilson has hit .249 in 62 games for Seattle this season, but has shown signs of improvement going 15-for-49 (.306) in his 15 games since the All-Star break. He has made 38 starts at second base this year for Seattle, 13 at shortstop and one at third base. Wilson, who bats right-handed, is a career .266 hitter with 61 homers and 422 RBIs.
Wilson spent more than eight seasons with the Pirates, making a name for himself with his defense at shortstop and when he won the Silver Slugger in 2004. Wren said he came highly recommended by Nate McLouth and Eric Hinske, who played with him with the Pirates.
Wilson is in the second year of a two-year $10 million contract and will become a free agent at the end of the season.
The Braves wanted to upgrade at backup shortstop position with a more consistent offensive producer – Julio Lugo is hitting .136 (6-for-44) in limited action.
“Jack is an exceptional middle infielder and we’re really excited to get him,” Wren said.