It looks like another bird will soon fly the free agent coop, and the Dodgers will look elsewhere to fill in the remaining gaps in their roster for 2014. So far the Dodgers have let Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker go to other teams who were more than willing to overpay for their veteran grit and head first slides. I wasn’t too upset about Punto or Skip signing elsewhere, but Brian Wilson‘s departure would be far more costly to the Dodgers and the bullpen. The Tigers have reportedly been in close talks with Wilson, and unless the Dodgers are willing to meet or beat whatever offer they may or may not have on the table then Wilson will most likely be on another team next season.
Times sure do change, don’t they? I never would have thought that I’d be upset about losing out on former enemy and eccentric beard growing Wilson. It wasn’t until he pitched for my team, and well I might add, that I changed my tune when it came to my propensity to hate everything associated ever with the Giants. Here I am hoping that the Dodgers re-sign ex-Giants Juan Uribe and Brian Wilson. After loathing Blackbeard during his years with San Francisco, I now actually do somewhat like the guy and hope the Dodgers will bring him back. He was damn good this past season, and I want more Beard.
The 31-year old right-hander went 2-1 with a stellar 0.66 ERA in 18 games with the Dodgers in 2013. He pitched 13 2/3 innings out of the Dodger bullpen while striking out 13 and walking just 4 batters. The Dodgers took a risk by signing Wilson after he worked to return from his second Tommy John surgery. The risk reaped big rewards, but now Wilson will soon be reaping the rewards with a presumably hefty new contract.
Many already thought that Wilson was as good as gone since he probably would want to be a closer, and the Dodgers already have Kenley Jansen. Yet, Wilson was rumored to have been willing to pitch in a set-up role out of the bullpen if he was still paid like a closer. I doubt Wilson would refuse a chance to pitch for a team in a non-closer type role if he still garnered the big contract that he is looking for. The Dodgers could really use Wilson out of their bullpen next season, but alas so could many other teams.
The Tigers need a closer, and Wilson may be just the Beard to fill that void for them. The Detroit News’ Lynn Henning reported on Monday that Wilson and his agent Dan Lozano met with newly appointed Tigers manager (and former Dodger) Brad Ausmus in Los Angeles on Sunday. In Henning’s article, it speculates that the negotiations between Wilson and the Tigers were serious.
While I wouldn’t want the Dodgers to overspend and get into a bidding war with Detroit, I hope that
they would earnestly try to re-sign Wilson. The Dodgers have been quiet thus far this offseason, and their only foray into the free agent pool was their signing of Dan Haren to a modest one-year deal. Without Wilson, it will be even more important to sign left-hander and free agent J.P. Howell.
The Dodgers took a $1 million chance on Wilson in August, and Wilson worked hard to prove to not only the Dodgers but to all of baseball that he was healthy and raring to go. Wilson worked back from Tommy John surgery on his own, and he agreed to pitch in the minors for the Dodgers before he was even able to take the mound at the Major League level. Wilson passed all the tests, and even though he only pitched partially in 2013, he proved that he still has what it takes to be an effective reliever and even closer.
Wilson may receive a contract which surpasses Brandon League‘s three-year $22.5 million debacle, and Wilson has every right to seek such a deal. Even if the Dodgers aren’t the ones to give him that type of contract, Wilson’s work ethic and his time on the Dodgers really changed my opinion of him. All the showy unconventional behavior aside, Wilson is a great pitcher. I guess the rest of the guys in the Dodger bullpen will have to grow extra facial hair in order to make up for the loss of Beard.