Daily Distractions: As bullpen market settles, Brian Wilson reportedly ‘close’ to settling with Dodgers.

Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson posted a 0.66 earned-run average in 13 games as a Dodger. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff photographer)

In the midst of all that pesky logic that preached pessimism, there was always this shred of hope for the Dodgers: Brian Wilson never insisted on closing in 2014.

Not publicly, at least.

Here’s what I wrote on Oct. 31:

It’s reasonable to expect the Dodgers will enter the bidding for Wilson. Just don’t be surprised if a team desperate for a closer (Detroit? Cleveland? Arizona?) guarantees more money and more years to a pitcher who’s saved one game the past two seasons.

Well, Detroit appears to have entered and exited the picture. The Tigers are reportedly close to signing Joe Nathan to be their closer, in part because their Plan A didn’t work out:

And, according to multiple reports Tuesday morning, Wilson is close to rejoining the Dodgers.

After the Dodgers declined to tender an offer to Ronald Belisario before last night’s 9 p.m. deadline, the need for a set-up man to Kenley Jansen became clear. And if Brian Wilson was keen on staying close to his Southern California home, why not Brian Wilson? He had a 0.66 earned-run average in 18 games after joining the Dodgers midway through the 2013 season, with his velocity increasing as the season progressed. He also threw six shutout innings in the playoffs.

Those stats would be nearly impossible to maintain in 2014, but he doesn’t appear to be regressing after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April 2012.

The closer market is settling quickly this off-season. If Wilson and Nathan leave the board, only Grant Balfour and Fernando Rodney would remain among free agents who closed full-time in 2013. Heath Bell and Jim Johnson have been traded in the last 24 hours.

I mentioned John Axford as a possible replacement for Belisario. Re-signing Wilson wouldn’t necessarily rule that out, and with this sense of humor you hope it doesn’t:


Some bullet points for an International Day of Persons with Disabilities:

• Seattle, Boston and Texas are reportedly still interested in Matt Kemp, which has been the case for at least a month now and could be the Dodgers’ biggest storyline at next week’s Winter Meetings.

• Or will Andre Ethier be traded? Writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com: “In a market in which Jacoby Ellsbury will command $100 million (or more), and Shin-Soo Choo seeks something close to that, Ethier could be more attractive, if the Dodgers eat some of the $69 million he is owed and turn him into a $10 million-$13 million a year player.”

• Five Giants minor leaguers were involved in a car crash in Scottsdale, Arizona this morning. Here’s a photo of the wreckage.

• The Kings and Ducks formally revealed the jerseys they’ll be wearing Jan. 25 at Dodger Stadium.

• Former Dodger: The San Diego Padres re-signed Eric Stults and Tim Stauffer.

• Former Dodger, Part 2: Josh Lindblom was traded again, from the Texas Rangers to the Oakland A’s in a minor four-player deal. Lindblom was traded by the Dodgers to the Philadelphia Phillies on July 31, 2012. The A’s are his third team since.

• Former Dodger, Part 3: John Ely signed a minor-league deal with the Boston Red Sox.

• Former Dodger, Part 4: Ricky Nolasco‘s four-year contract with the Minnesota Twins is official. He’s guaranteed to earn at least $12 million each year. Remember those numbers when the Dodgers anoint their fourth starter next season.

Billy Beane was chosen as the Sporting News’ Executive of the Year.

• In honor of Brian Wilson, some classic Brian Wilson:

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