The Detroit Tigers need to make a strong effort in attempting to sign closer Brian Wilson who is coming off Tommy John surgery but yet expected to be healthy by Opening Day according to Tim Brown at Yahoo! Sports.
Source: Brian Wilson has been told by surgeon James Andrews that he will be cleared for spring training and ready by opening day.— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) December 6, 2012
Scott Miller at CBS Sports mentioned last night on Twitter that Wilson is receiving lots of interest around baseball but didn't specify which five teams he's narrowed his list down to.
Lots of interest in Brian Wilson, source says. He's still not close to signing but has narrowed list from 9 or 10 teams to 5 or so— Scott Miller (@ScottMCBS) December 28, 2012
Hopefully the Tigers are on that list.
Wilson, who according to Henry Shulman from the SF Chronicle was upset at being released from the San Francisco Giants, would provide a low risk/high reward potential with the Tigers in a "win-now" mode.
Yes, I'm told Wilson feels disrespected by #sfgiants, tho one person who knows him said he's "pouting" and could change mind about return.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) December 1, 2012
If Wilson wants a strong team with an opportunity to win and anchor the bullpen, then Detroit is the right place for him. He can be on a winning team with a strong lineup and great starting pitching that will give him the opportunities to earn saves.
On the Tigers side there are absolutely no negatives in signing Wilson and giving him an opportunity to win the closer role. He'd come cheaper than other candidates in terms of dollars and length of contract, not cost the team a draft pick like Rafael Soriano would, and has proven himself in high pressure situations.
The Tigers could either sign Wilson for a one-year deal and give him the opportunity to re-establish himself or offer him a two-year deal with the second being a club option at a much higher salary (which I'd prefer). This way, if Bruce Rondon does develop and prove he can handle the closer job then the Tigers and Wilson could part ways after the season, both having benefited from their short-term marriage.
Wilson, who has already gone through two Tommy John surgeries, is a great teammate and would fit right into the Tigers clubhouse.
Who would you rather have as the Tigers closer?
Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland are known for their honesty with players so Wilson would sign knowing that there could be a competition in spring training with Rondon and that he could be a setup man.
Based on the stories I've read over the years, I don't believe Wilson would have a problem with Rondon and would help mentor the young reliever knowing full well his time in Detroit could be cut short by Rondon. Plus, if Wilson loses the closer role competition and the Tigers find out once the season starts that Rondon is too young for the role, then they have an experienced second option.
Wilson would also embrace the city of Detroit; the fans would love his quirky nature and hardworking mentality.
There is too much upside for both parties not to make a deal work, and the Tigers definitely offer Wilson the best chance to show the Giants what a bad mistake it was to release him.
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section if you think Brian Wilson and the Tigers are a good match.