The Yankees have a new second baseman. … sort of.
The Bronx Bombers shocked the sports world Wednesday when GM Brian Cashman pulled off a blockbuster deal with the Texas Rangers for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Wilson is expected to join the Yankees at their spring camp in Tampa at some point in March.
“We’ve admired Russell’s career from afar for quite some time,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said in a statement. “This is a unique opportunity for us to learn from an extraordinary athlete who has reached the pinnacle of his profession.
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“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.”
This isn’t the first time the Bombers have flirted with a football star. The Yankees selected future Broncos superstar John Elway in the second round of the 1981 MLB draft. They also had two-sport sensation Deion Sanders at the beginning of his career. Drew Henson had a cup of coffee with the Bombers, too.
The Mets also currently have a quarterback in the mix. NFL bust Tim Tebow got an invite to big league camp as the former Heisman winner continues his pro baseball dreams for a second season.
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Don’t look for the four-time Pro Bowl QB to pull on the pinstripes and jump in the lineup with the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. This move is just one that allows Wilson – who played two years in the Rockies’ system before being selected by the Rangers in the Rule 5 draft in 2013 – to stay close to the game he loves.
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While he is in Tampa, Wilson will participate in pregame workouts with the club and watch games from the Yankees’ dugout. He will be officially assigned to the Double-A Trenton roster.
“I want to personally thank the Texas Rangers for giving me the chance to experience professional baseball again,” Wilson said in a statement. “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.”
Wilson, who helped the Seahawks to a Super Bowl title at MetLife Stadium in 2014, was originally drafted by the Orioles in the 41st round of the 2007 Amateur Draft out of high school but opted to play both sports at North Carolina State.
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The Rockies then selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. He had 315 at-bats in 2010-2011 in two stops at the lower levels of the Rockies organization. Wilson had 72 hits with 26 RBI and 19 stolen bases with a .229 batting average.
Wilson, who finished his collegiate football career at Wisconsin, was selected by Seattle in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft and was an immediate sensation winning Rookie of the year honors.
But he wasn’t ready to give up on baseball, participating in team workouts at Rangers spring training camp in both 2014 and 2015.
Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia joked on social media about the deal.
“About to win the next World Series and Super Bowl,” the veteran lefty tweeted.
The Yankees chimed in: ‘We do have a really good O-line.”
The Yankees will send future considerations to the Rangers in exchange for Wilson.
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