Brian Wilson has appeared in two major-league games since the end of the 2011 season. (Getty Images)
According to multiple reports this morning, the Dodgers have signed former San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson to a minor-league contract.
Wilson, who underwent Tommy John surgery in April 2012, tried out for the New York Mets in January but was unimpressive. Pitchers who undergo Tommy John surgery typically need 12 to 18 months to fully recover, sometimes more, so it stands to reason that Wilson has improved considerably in the last six months. He tried out recently with representatives from several teams in attendance; conveniently for the Dodgers, Wilson lives in Southern California.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti was the Giants’ assistant general manager in 2003, when San Francisco took Wilson in the 23rd round of the June draft. Evidently Wilson bore some resemblance to his pre-Tommy John self at the recent tryout, beard and all.
As we reasoned yesterday, the Dodgers don’t really need to add a player with the non-waiver trade deadline about 24 hours away. They still might make a trade. But signing a pitcher who’s appeared in two games since the end of 2011 — to a minor-league deal, no less — isn’t the kind of impact move that contenders gear up for at the trade deadline, regardless of his reputation or facial hair. Wilson’s resumé includes more saves from 2008 to 2011 (163) than any pitcher in baseball.
Rather it’s a move that signals the Dodgers are looking ahead to the postseason. Wilson has 10 games of postseason experience, all with the Giants during their 2010 World Series run. That year, he saved six games in seven opportunities. Wilson would still have to be added to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster between now and October but, as was the case with Carlos Marmol, it makes sense for a contending team to stockpile former closers as Plans A, B and C should Kenley Jansen falter, or fall victim to illness (like last year) or injury.
The Dodgers have that luxury with Brandon League, Marmol and now Wilson.
Onto some bullet points: