Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Brian Wilson strengthens the Dodgers' 'pen

With the trade deadline a day away, the Dodgers made a move that could be huge if all works out.

No, it wasn't like the big splash moves made last year by acquiring Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, and Josh Beckett.  It wasn't even a trade they made.

It's signing free agent Brian Wilson, the former closer with the Giants.  That is, the guy with World Series success and 171 career saves.

Wilson inked a minor league deal, with an obvious eye towards joining the big club in the stretch run.  He recently was clocked throwing around 93-94, according to the guys on MLB Network Radio.  Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports tweets that he had offers from three teams total.

I remember before the season how the Dodgers were interested in Wilson's services, but he wasn't healthy enough then, as he recently made it known that if he's not fully healthy, he's inches away from being there. 

I also remember discussing during the All-Star break how one of the two areas of need for the Dodgers was their middle relief, specifically right-handed relief (the other area is health, of course).  Well, when you have a chance to sign a guy who's been a three-time All-Star, led the league with 48 saves in 2010, won a ring, and finished seventh in Cy Young voting, it's a good thing.

Where exactly does Wilson fit in?  Perhaps he can close, but Kenley Jansen has been fantastic in that role, going a perfect 7-7 in July with a 1.46 ERA and .140 BAA.  I can see Wilson pitching in the eighth, as Ronald Belisario can still be too erratic at times to be completely trusted.  At the very least, if Wilson can prove he's truly healthy, you'll see him getting the ball late in games to get big outs.

Again, this is all assuming Wilson is recovered and still has the ability to get hitters out.  He hasn't pitched since April 12 of last season, going down for Tommy John surgery after only two appearances.  Maybe the best thing he did is take his time after surgery and not rush to sign at the start of this season.  He has the track record, so the best plan of attack was to make sure everything was right, then workout for teams.

Let's give credit to Ned Colletti for making this happen.  It can only be a good thing, because if it doesn't work out, it was only a minor league contract to begin with.  But if it does, it will be great to have someone with his numbers and experience on the postseason roster.

And yes, it is OK to root for an ex-Giant!  He's ours now!

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