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Rangers Sign Former Padres Kevin Kouzmanoff and Josh Wilson to Minor League Contracts

Marc Piscotty

I'm usually pretty good about keeping up with MLB Trade Rumors and signings but somehow I missed the "big" news that the Rangers signed former Friars Kevin Kouzmanoff and Josh Wilson to minor league deals on Thursday afternoon. I happened to be looking at Kouzmanoff's Baseball-Reference page (because that's how I party on a Friday night) and there it was under his transaction history. I looked for more information and that's when I found out that Texas also signed Wilson and Brent Lillibridge. That's the last mention I'll make of Lillibridge since he has no ties to the Padres and therefor doesn't matter one bit to me.

Acquired by the Padres from the Indians in exchange for Josh Barfield after the 2006 season, Kouzmanoff played his first three full seasons as San Diego's starting third baseman. He hit thirty or more doubles all three years, and sandwiched a 23-homer season with two slices of 18. Kouzmanoff set a major league record in 2009 with his .990 fielding percentage; he committed only three errors in 214 attempts after making a total of 33 errors in his first two seasons. After that season he was sent with Eric Sogard to Oakland in order to allow Chase Headley to move from left field to his natural position of third base. In return, the Padres received Aaron Cunningham and the second coming of Scott Hairston.

Kouzmanoff was Oakland's starting third baseman in 2010. He set a career high with 32 doubles but posted career lows in every other department. His .247/ .283/ .396 slash line seemed like the abyss but he managed to hit even less in 46 games with the A's in 2011 and found himself back in the minors for the first time in five years. He was traded to the Rockies in August of 2011 and performed adequately in 27 games. Kouzmanoff signed with the Royals organization for the 2012 season and split the season between AA and AAA, hitting only two homers in 330 at-bats. He had a bit of a resurgence in 2013, batting .294/ .344/ .440 with 14 doubles and six homers in 218 at-bats with Miami's AAA affiliate in New Orleans.

Josh Wilson's tenure with the Padres was nowhere near as long as Kouzmanoff's, but the infielder did provide one memorable moment in his 16-game stint in San Diego. On June 7, 2009, Wilson was brought in to pitch in the eighteenth inning of a game against Arizona. What made that even stranger is that Wilson had been used as an emergency pitcher less than a month earlier as a member of the Diamondbacks.

While Wilson might not have made for a convincing pitcher on the mound, he sure hit like one. Wilson hit two singles and two doubles in his 38 at-bats with San Diego, good for a .105 batting average, slightly less than half his career mark of .225. Since being waived by the Padres a month after he was acquired, Wilson has bounced between AAA and the majors with the Seattle, Arizona, Milwaukee, and Atlanta organizations.

Best of luck to both Kevin Kouzmanoff and Josh Wilson this upcoming season. And that other guy too, I guess.