SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Albert Pujols had a deadline. C.J. Wilson does not. Pujols' impending free agency is the biggest story in Cardinals camp. Wilson is in the same situation but, with pitchers and catchers reporting to camp on Wednesday, the possibility of him being a free agent has caused hardly a ripple. "I don't feel anything about that," Wilson said. "I have an agent [Bob Garber]. It's not my job to negotiate with the Rangers. It's my job to go out and pitch and get us in the playoffs again, which I'm really excited about because we have a really good team."
Wilson was eligible for arbitration this winter but settled with the Rangers on a $7 million contract for 2011. The Rangers have left open the possibility of re-visiting multiyear deals with certain players during Spring Training and Wilson is likely to be on that list. "Absolutely," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "We always want to evaluate our core group of players and view every opportunity to keep those guys beyond the six years that we control them. C.J. is certainly in that mix." Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz are also possibilities but Wilson is the one who can be a free agent after this season. Hamilton is signed for two more years and Cruz can't be a free agent until after the 2013 season. There have been no discussions to this point on a long-term deal for Wilson. "I have never been offered a long-term contract at any level with the Rangers," Wilson said. "I figure with all the stuff they have going on, they're busy. They have the whole Michael Young thing going on, they have Nellie, Josh ... Neftali Feliz as a starter/closer thing. There are a lot of other guys here." Right now though, Wilson, 30, might be the Rangers' No. 1 starter after going 15-8 with a 3.35 ERA in 33 starts. He ended up being named the Rangers Pitcher of the Year after making a successful transition from the bullpen to the rotation. If he builds and improves on that, he could end up being the No. 1 pitcher on the free-agent market next offseason. White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle is also eligible, while the Phillies hold a club option on Roy Oswalt for 2012 and the Cardinals are in the same situation with Chris Carpenter. C.C. Sabathia can also be a free agent after this season if he wants to opt out of his contract and walk away from a $23 million annual salary in 2012-15. The Rangers have two starting pitchers signed for next season. They have a club option on Colby Lewis for $3.25 million and Scott Feldman is signed for $6.5 million. Brandon Webb, who signed a one-year deal, can be a free agent, while Tommy Hunter, Derek Holland and others aren't yet even eligible for arbitration. The Rangers, if they don't trade Young, have already committed $55 million to five position players for 2012: Hamilton, Young, Adrian Beltre, Yorvit Torrealba and Ian Kinsler. They also could be looking at $7 million or so for Cruz if he has another strong season going into his second year of arbitration. Wilson, who is from Southern California, likes Texas and wouldn't mind staying. He is not worried about location as much as being on a winning team. "This is my seventh season and last year was the most fun I've ever had with all the success we had," Wilson said. "This is a much different organization than it was two years ago and it's great being on a club in the playoffs. That's the only thing I'm worried about." If he pitches well again, somebody will pay him so there is really no reason to worry, set Pujols-like deadlines or cause a big commotion in camp. "I'm unconventional in a lot of ways," Wilson said. "There is always something to occupy my mind. I don't dwell on things like that. Being able to go out and take pictures or shoot a short movie or do something with my charity or business interests ... as soon as I walk off the field, that's what's occupying my mind. I leave baseball on the field. I don't sit around and worry about my contract."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.