Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was traded Wednesday — and the destination might surprise you. He’s now a member of the New York Yankees.
Before you freak out, Seahawks fans, know that Wilson is still indeed your quarterback and allow us to explain: The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees, in a little bit of MLB absurdity, have struck a deal for the rights to Wilson as a *baseball player*.
Wilson is going from the Rangers to the Yankees in exchange for a “future considerations, as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick was first to report. He’s not trying to become a two-sport athlete. Instead, he’ll join the Yankees spring camp in March, go through pre-game workouts and watch games from the dugout. It amounts to knocking the rust off his cleats and glove, which he used in his previous attempt to play minor-league baseball in 2010 and 2011.
The absurdity, though, comes in details like these:
He has long expressed a desire to play for the Yankees, and Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and his New York counterpart, Brian Cashman, have spent several weeks working to accommodate his wishes, a source told ESPN.
It took “several weeks” for the Yankees and Rangers to figure out this trade? When they could be signing any of the dozens of free agents on the open market? As baseball finds itself in a labor showdown between players and owners, that’s sure to inspire a few eye-rolls.
Here’s what Wilson said in a statement about this time with the Rangers and his excitement about joining the Yankees:
“I want to personally thank the Texas Rangers for giving me the chance to experience professional baseball again,” Wilson said. “Growing up taking grounders, hitting BP, and throwing deep post routes early in the mornings with my dad and brother is where my love of sports came from, and those memories stick with me every morning I wake up. I remember how excited I was when Texas selected me in the Rule 5 Draft in December 2013. During my two springs in Arizona with the Rangers, I was reminded just how much I love the game of baseball.
“While football is my passion and my livelihood, baseball remains a huge part of where I came from and who I am today. I’ve learned so much on the baseball field that translates to my game physically and mentally playing quarterback in the NFL. I thank the Rangers and their great fans for making me feel at home and a part of the family! While I embrace the chance to be a New York Yankee, I will forever be grateful to have been a part of a world class organization like the Texas Rangers.”
Yankees GM Brian Cashman said:
“We’ve admired Russell’s career from afar for quite some time,” Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said. “This is a unique opportunity for us to learn from an extraordinary athlete who has reached the pinnacle of his profession.
“After talking to a number of our players, there is a genuine excitement in having Russell join us for a short time in camp. We are all looking forward to gaining insight into how he leads teammates toward a common goal, prepares on a daily basis for the rigors of his sport, and navigates the successes and failures of a season.”
Wilson played college baseball and had a short stint in the minor leagues in between his college football stops at North Carolina State and Wisconsin. The minors didn’t work too well, he focused on football, became a star, won a Super Bowl — all that stuff you know. But Wilson’s rights as a baseball player were still a thing.
The Rockies drafted him back in 2010, but the Rangers scooped him up in the Rule 5 Draft in 2013. He appeared at Rangers spring camp after that and has served mostly an ambassador for the Rangers since.
If the Mets have Tim Tebow, it makes sense for the Yankees to have Russell Wilson.
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