MILWAUKEE -- The most popular pitcher at the general managers' meetings is in Japan.
Not from Japan. In Japan, on vacation.
C.J. Wilson is headed home Friday, on his 31st birthday. He won't have a new contract and a 2012 team by then, but based on the early interest, he'll have plenty of choices and a chance to make plenty of money.
In fact, early indications are that Wilson could well command a six-year contract.
Agent Bob Garber, who shuttled from meeting to meeting on Monday, wouldn't comment on that, but did say that there are 8-9 teams interested in Wilson, and that he hopes to narrow the group to the four or five most interested teams before more serious negotiations begin.
Garber had dinner Monday with new Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, who did little to hide his interest in stealing Wilson away from the rival Rangers.
"Obviously, we have interest," Dipoto said. "I hope C.J. feels the same way. We'll find out."
The Angels would seem to be set at the top of their rotation, with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. But as Dipoto said, "I don't know that you can ever have enough pitching."
Wilson grew up in Southern California, but Garber said his ultimate decision on where to sign will "really have nothing to do with location."
Wilson hasn't at all ruled out a return to the Rangers, and Garber said the idea of chasing a third straight trip to the World Series has appeal. The Rangers haven't ruled out re-signing Wilson, either, but with the level of interest elsewhere, it seems unlikely that he'll remain in Texas.
Wilson has had two strong seasons as a starter, going past 200 innings each year and finishing with a combined 31-15 record. He had a poor October this year, going 0-3 with a 5.79 ERA in six starts, but that doesn't seem to have hurt his market appeal.
The Washington Post reported Monday that the Nationals have interest in Wilson, as well as in Roy Oswalt, another Garber client. Garber spent some time with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo Monday evening.