C.J. Wilson faces Chris Carpenter in a battle for perception


ARLINGTON, Texas — Mocking the suggestion that a postseason performance might have a big impact on impeding free-agent earnings has become such a blogosphere mainstay that it has almost become cliche.

No matter how C.J. Wilson does in Monday night's Game 5 of the World Series, it is not going to produce a $20 million swing in his payday.

No matter the result, Wilson will still be a 30-year-old lefty and arguably the market's top available pitcher depending on what happens with CC Sabathia. His work ethic and ability to pitch over 200 innings a season will still be the same and the biggest check mark working against him will still exist (he has only spent two full seasons as a starter). Teams will still have money to spend this offseason and Wilson is still equipped with the biggest basket when it comes time to catch it.

Of course, if we want to talk about the narrative and how Wilson will be perceived during that moneygrab, then I think that's fair game. As a guy who still hasn't had everyone buy into his "ace" label, Wilson's performance against Chris Carpenter — a guy who also had to earn his own ace reputation over time — will go a long way to determining that storyline.

Even Wilson agreed with that assessment during a Sunday press conference.

"True story," he said when it was suggested Game 5 is the biggest start of his life. {YSP:MORE}

"That's what the commercial says, that legends are born in the postseason or whatever," he added.

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It is a really interesting matchup, this meeting of C.J. vs. Carp. They are both considered the aces of their staffs, but they are also very different. Lefty vs righty. West Coast vs. East Coast. A man in search of a World Series and a Cy Young Award vs. one with both. A man who presumably has a lot of time left in the bigs vs. one who presumably does not.

Carpenter has made almost $80 million over his career and Wilson will soon surpass that by adding to the $13 million he's already made. But in terms of the way the baseball public views the both of them, Wilson has a long way to go in catching up to Monday night's rival. His 0-3 record and 7.17 ERA over four starts in the 2011 postseason has not done him any favors in that area, but that could all be reversed or forgotten with one "ace-like" start in Game 5.

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