Brian Wilson and the Tigers



Brian Wilson is still looking for a job as the 3 time all-star is currently shopping himself as a closer. Wilson who has spent his entire six year Major League career with the San Francisco Giants recently worked out for the Mets and is said to have another go of things with them despite a less than impressive first outing.

The Tigers should find themselves in need of Wilson’s talents. When healthy he sported a 10k/per 9IP and was a shutdown closer from 2008 to 2011. This acquisition would be low risk/ high reward especially given the following:

  1. Insurance for Bruce Rondon. Rondon is young and hasn’t pitched at the Major League level.
  2. Experience. Wilson has been there and was once regarded as one of the game’s best.
  3. Wilson has a great ability to forget bad outings and focus on what’s in hand.
  4. He had the right stuff and could still have it. Before being hurt Wilson missed bats, his walk totals are a little high in some season’s, but he doesn’t get hit for average .223/ .220/ .240 is the BAA over his last 3 healthy years. Career wise he was .238 BAA.
  5. Wilson’s best has not been seen yet. Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones hasn’t received the credit he deserves and has done a great job getting the best out of his staff. Wilson has a plus arm and Tommy John surgery shouldn’t affect the velocity.  Wilson lived at a 95+ MPH heater for his career and with Jones’ help he could learn to play off his secondary pitches.
  6. His price shouldn’t be unreasonable after an ok 2011 and coming off injury. A Ryan Madson contract with a club option should be fair. He is looking to win and Detroit can offer a shot to compete for the closing job.

But with Wilson there’s the bad that comes with the good:

  1. He is coming off Tommy John surgery which is the second time in his career. First in 2003 at LSU then last year. He did bounce back after having the first surgery while many older players have had the surgery and have been fine. Smoltz, Carpenter, Wainwright so it isn’t a death sentence.
  2. He expects to close. If he wants to compete for the job fine, but he must realize that contending team are going to want him to compete for the job and won’t just hand it to him.
  3. The Mets weren’t impressed the first time seeing him, but they did recently ask to see him again.
  4. His WHIP isn’t crazy for a closer. 1.33 for his career, but his BB totals are not great, frankly sometimes alarming.
  5. Wilson is known as a good teammate, but his quirkiness could get in the way.

Overall I think Wilson is worth the risk for Detroit. GM Dave Dombrowski is said to of not been interested in Wilson at this moment but if we know anything about Mr. Dombrowski he’s a master at the media waltz. Dombrowski could of easily slammed the door shut but instead left it slightly cracked. The quotes have gone from 100% in Rondon to Rondon will be given the chance to close. If Wilson is right and Rondon is ready, it is a good problem to have.

About Jason Bray

Detroit Sports Columist. Joined The Majors staff in 2012 covering the Detroit Lions.

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