Well, if you can’t beat em…take on their ex-closer who is coming off of arm troubles. That’s what I always say. I’m speaking of course of San Francisco Giants free agent pitcher Brian Wilson. Wilson, who is available to the rest of baseball after being non-tendered by the world champs, is a guy that could easily fit into the Tigers roster and clubhouse.
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the whole “beard” persona that we saw from Wilson after he became popular after the Giants 2010 World Series victory. The Tigers just said goodbye to one quirky closer, who wasn’t doing much dancing in the playoffs for the Tigers. Now, I know that stuff is irrelevant to how a player performs on the field, so I guess I will just take the honest approach.
Signing Brian Wilson would of course be a gamble for the Tigers. High risk, high reward. One, we don’t know if he is going to have the same kind of stuff that he had when he was healthy. Two, because of his stature and persona marketing wise, his value might be a little higher than his actual production. The business side is certainly something to consider for the Tigers GM.
But can he even help on the field. His experience would certainly be a plus. In a bullpen that lacks defined roles, it never hurts to consider adding a talented arm to the mix. Wilson is just two years removed from a season worthy of Cy Young votes in which he saved 48 games with an ERA of 1.81. In 2011, the “bad” version of “The Beard” had an ERA of 3.11. If he can even reproduce those numbers, he is worth taking a flier on.
Now, as far as finances go, I am sure he would be looking for a multi-year deal, but I am not sure Wilson is going to find the market for that at this point. He might have to prove himself on a one year deal first. Or he could get a one year deal with an option for the second. I don’t see anyone going more than around four million a year for Wilson because of his injury concern. That would fit nicely into what the Tigers could be looking for.
Personally, I am not going to miss the antics of Jose Valverde, but there is something to be said for the odd ducks in baseball that keep a clubhouse loose. I don’t really have a bead on the Tigers clubhouse, other than it seems to lack some leadership from time to time. Could Brian Wilson help with that? Maybe. He has been part of a franchise that has won two World Series championships in recent history.
Can his arm help out of the bullpen? Well, that is a big maybe too. But one that could be worth the reward to explore.