MLB Contenders That Could Use Brian Wilson for the Stretch Run
Teams aware that Brian Wilson could audition for scouts around Aug. 1. He's been working out in Hawaii.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 9, 2013
Wilson was once one of the best closers in baseball, saving 163 games between 2008-11.
However, elbow inflammation landed him on the disabled list late in 2011. In 2012, he underwent Tommy John surgery and was non-tendered by the Giants after the year.
Now, almost fully healed, Wilson is ready to make his return late in the year.
The biggest question is, which contenders could be interested in the right-hander?
If the Braves haven't made a move for bullpen help by the trading deadline, you can almost bet they'll be in on Wilson.
Having lost Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters for the rest of the season (and possibly most of next), Wilson could be someone the Braves use down the stretch.
The Braves currently have Jordan Walden as the only viable setup man for closer Craig Kimbrel.
Luis Avilan has filled in nicely with a 1.43 ERA and team-leading 13 holds, but the Braves need more in the bullpen.
They need somebody that can come in during the seventh or eighth to shut the door.
If Wilson proves to be throwing like he used to, it would be worth the risk for the Braves.
We all know about the problems the Tigers have had closing games.
While some see the Tigers going after Jonathan Papelbon or John Axford, Wilson is a viable candidate for Detroit.
The biggest plus to signing Wilson would be that they wouldn't have to give up any prospects, which is something they couldn't get away with by trading for the other two.
Wilson would also come relatively cheap for the rest of the year. Papelbon will be owed $6.5 million for the last half of the year, while Axford will be owed $2.5 million.
The Tigers could offer Wilson $1 million to finish out the year and he'd likely take it. Not only because he knows he has to prove himself, but because he knows the Tigers have a great chance at winning the World Series.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals could always use bullpen help.
While Edward Mujica has done well closing games, it's getting to him that's been the problem.
While things have improved over the last month, St. Louis still needs the bullpen to be better.
Which team is most likely to end up with Brian Wilson?
Relievers currently have a 3.52 ERA and are allowing opponents a .247 batting average.
Teaming Wilson with Trevor Rosenthal would give the Cardinals a formidable back end for the stretch run.
Boston Red Sox
Like the Tigers, the Red Sox could use a closer.
As a relief corps, the Red Sox have 17 saves on the year with four of those coming from injured Joel Hanrahan.
Throw in the fact that Andrew Miller and Franklin Morales are also injured and you see the Red Sox need help.
In the playoffs, a strong bullpen is the key to any series. Of the four teams listed, Boston has the weakest bullpen and one of the weakest of all current contenders.
Detroit seems to be the most logical choice for Wilson if the Tigers haven't landed a closer by the deadline.
They have the biggest need at closer, with the Red Sox not far behind.
However, Wilson could surprise everyone and head back out West to pitch for a contender.
Had it not been for Tommy John surgery, that's likely where he'd still be and likely where he wants to continue to be.
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