It’s apparently back to pinstripes for Russell Wilson this offseason.
The agent for the Seahawks’ $88 million quarterback and face of the franchise, Mark Rodgers, told an MLB Network Radio show on Sirius XM Thursday Wilson will again workout with the New York Yankees this upcoming spring training.
It will be the second consecutive offseason Wilson has taken some swings and ground balls with the Yankees in Tampa, Fla. Last March the former low-Class-A and college middle infielder not only took batting practice but appeared in an exhibition game for New York.
On Sunday, a day after the Seahawks’ 2018 ended with a two-point loss at Dallas in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs, Wilson said he didn’t know when asked if he was going back to Yankees spring-training camp this offseason. He said he was just focusing on that first day after the football season ended.
“I’ve be able to experience it, obviously, but to be around a team that’s won 27 world championships and just hear and try to speak that language...I haven’t thought about it, to be honest with you. I’m sure I will think about it at some point,” Wilson said of the Yankees.
“I’m still thinking about football right now.”
Wilson was selected on Wednesday for his fifth Pro Bowl in seven NFL seasons. He is replacing Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, who withdrew because of an injury. Wilson broke his own team record with 35 touchdown passes against a career-low-tying seven interceptions in the 2018 season, despite throwing fewer passes than any other full-time starting quarterback in the NFL.
His Seahawks contract ends after the 2019 season. This week coach Pete Carroll said the team will have talks this offseason with agent Mark Rodgers on extending Wilson’s deal for a second time.
It will likely take at least $30-33 million per year to keep Wilson, based on what Rodgers and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan got in their extensions in the past year to re-set the league’s market on elite quarterbacks who have started Super Bowls.
Wilson said Sunday that he wants to stay, that Seattle “is special to me.”
He didn’t mention anything about baseball.
The Pro Bowl is Jan. 27 in Orlando, Fla. The Yankees’ first full workout of spring training is Feb. 19 in Tampa.
Last year, Wilson joined the Yankees for a week beginning Feb. 26.
While Carroll, general manager John Schneider and Seattle’s leadership were at the NFL’s annual scouting combine in Indianapolis, Wilson got an at-bat in that Yankees exhibition game. It was more than he’d done in two spring-training cameos working out with the Texas Rangers in Arizona in recent football offseasons.
Wilson wanted his Seahawks jersey number 3 for his spring-training cameo with the Yankees last year, but joked it was taken (by some guy named Babe Ruth, forever). He was in a batting-practice group with Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. He reportedly took a ground ball off his face during one of his drills last spring.
Then, wearing shiny, reflective sunglasses and jersey number 73 over the Yankees’ iconic, pinstriped pants, he struck out swinging in a spring-training game in Tampa against the Atlanta Braves. It was Wilson’s first major-league at-bat, albeit in an exhibition.
Wilson got a couple off-speed pitches plus a nasty curveball he took for a strike from Atlanta’s Max Fried. Fried then struck out Wilson with a 93-mph fastball on a 2-2 count.
That was his first at-bat in a game since 2011. That was when Wilson wore number 7 and was a middle infielder with low-Class-A Asheville in North Carolina, on his way to quarterbacking Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl then getting drafted by the Seahawks the following spring.
The Colorado Rockies drafted Wilson in the fourth round in 2010, when he was playing football and baseball at North Carolina State. He played 93 minor-league games in the Rockies’ organization. He batted .229 with five home runs over two seasons for Colorado’s low affiliates.
The Rangers ceremoniously “traded” Wilson in February 2018 to the Yankees, fulfilling a dream the quarterback said he’s had since he was a kid in Richmond, Virginia.
Wilson never had an at-bat in a spring game with Texas. Early in his visit with the Yankees last year New York manager Aaron Boone said Wilson wouldn’t have one with his team, either.
Then he did. And he may again this spring.
The Yankees’ first exhibition game is Feb. 23 against the Boston Red Sox.
STRENGTH/CONDITIONING STAFF OVERHAUL
Coach Pete Carroll said Monday he didn’t expect changes to his coaching staff.
He didn’t say anything about the team’s strength and conditioning staff.
A league source confirmed to The News Tribune Thursday that the Seahawks fired head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle, assistant strength and conditioning coaches Mondray Gee and Jamie Yanchar plus trainer Donald Rich.