Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Report: Dodgers close to re-signing Brian Wilson, which is fantastic

The Dodgers are close to bringing Brian Wilson back. Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday morning the sides are making progress on an agreement.

The Tigers were seen as the Dodgers' biggest competitor for Wilson's services, but they're close to inking Joe Nathan to a deal, thus ending their pursuit of Wilson.

Wilson is said to want a 2-year, $20 million deal. After the Dodgers were in the mix on Monday for former Orioles' closer now-Athletics' closer Jim Johnson, bringing back Wilson at a rate like that isn't the worst thing in the world. Surprisingly, I'm more comfortable with the Dodgers paying Wilson in the neighborhood of $10 million per season rather than a guy like Johnson.

The Dodgers were definitely in on Johnson, with money -- oddly enough -- being the sticking point. When Wilson is right, he's an elite reliever. Johnson, despite posting back-to-back 50-save seasons (SAVEZ, h/t Mike Petriello), doesn't have elite stuff and relies heavily on ground balls.

I obviously undershot the amount in my offseason plan (2 years, $11 million), but with the Dodgers non-tendering Ronald Belisario on Tuesday (something I wanted to happen) and J.P. Howell not certain to return, there is suddenly a lot of vacancies in the bullpen. Bringing back Wilson would go a long way to shoring it up. I'm guessing it'll be a 2-year deal in the $8-10 million range annually with an option for a third year (vesting or otherwise).

Update (Dec. 3, 9:40 a.m.): Literally seconds after I posted this, I saw this tweet from USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

If true, that's even better for the Dodgers. That could bump the AAV to $10 million (or maybe a little more), but it's still a worthwhile risk to take. Wilson likely wants a 1-year deal to re-establish himself over the course of a full season in hopes of landing a multiyear deal elsewhere to be a team's closer. It makes a lot of sense for him.

Wilson pitched great in limited time with the Dodgers last season. He posted a 0.66 ERA and was worth nearly half-a-win in 13 2/3 innings. Now, he won't post a sub-1 ERA going forward, but he should be the best setup man the Dodgers have employed since Jonathan Broxton (yes, I said it).

His velocity improved as his season went on (ended at 93.2 MPH), and he was hitting 94-96 MPH with his fastball in the postseason. His cut fastball velocity was actually better than his career mark (89.5 MPH compared to 89 MPH). It's safe to say his elbow is healthy and should be on his way back to being an elite reliever.

The Dodger bullpen looks much stronger with Wilson in it.
That's a pretty nasty bullpen already. I'm still hoping Howell comes back to be the second lefty in the bullpen. It'd be nice to get him for two years, but I'm OK with a 3-year commitment, despite him not being an elite reliever with elite stuff.

Whoddathunk Dodger fans would be clamoring for a Wilson return? I was optimistic when the team signed him in July, and it appears to have paid off for him and the Dodgers.

Things are moving unusually quickly this offseason. Most of this action doesn't happen until the Winter Meetings. Here we are six days from the meetings and the news is flowing quite freely. Perhaps this will open up trade possibilities for the Dodgers next week.

Later, I'll have a post about the Dodgers and what the Belisario non-tender means. That post will not be as meaty (for lack of a better term) if Wilson indeed gets signed, but it will look at what the Dodgers could and should do to make the bullpen a true weapon in 2014.

Photo credit: Epic Memories by Ron, Flickr


  1. Wait, Johnson was clear in his introductory press conference that he chose the angels because they were willing to go to three years.