Giants Extend Brian Wilson

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Giants Extend Brian Wilson

It was announced today that the Giants signed Brian Wilson to a two-year contract extension covering 2011 and 2012 for a total of $15 million.  Some months back now, the Giants and Wilson agreed on a $4.4 million contract for 2010 to avoid arbitration.

The Giants have now locked in Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt through 2012 in moves that will cost them $24.5 million total in 2011 and 2012.

Neither deal looks like a sure thing to me, and I kind of think the Giants would have been better off waiting until after the All-Star Break this year to make these deals.

Wilson is 28 this season and Affeldt is 31.  Wilson definitely has closer stuff, but he’s also always had control issues.  Also, his career 3.73 major league ERA really isn’t that impressive.

Finally, Wilson relies heavily on the slide-ball, and he’s already had one Tommy John surgery since college.  My guess is that his first blown elbow ligament won’t be his last.

Jeremy Affeldt will be 32 and 33 in the two years of his extension.

As I see it, there’s no reason to think that the Giants could not have waited until August 2010 to see what kind of seasons Affeldt and Wilson were having in 2010 before extending their contracts in these amounts.  In the current market, these are market-rate contracts, and there’s little reason to think that Wilson and Affeldt wouldn’t have jumped on these same offers with both feet in the first half of next August.

Wilson’s contract buys out arbitration years, and it’s hard to see him doing much better salary-wise in 2011 and 2012, even if he continued to pitch as well as he did in 2009, and filed for arbitration and signed individual deals both seasons.  $15 million over two seasons is a lot of guaranteed money for a closer with Wilson’s career record.

The same is true for Affeldt.  He’s coming off the best season of his major league career at age 30, and the Giants really would have been better served to wait until August to see if Affeldt’s 2009 was for real.

Again, a guaranteed $9.5 million for two seasons for a top set-up man, albeit one who could presumably move up into the closer role if Wilson gets hurt or loses effectiveness, is an offer that Affeldt would likely still have accepted in August.

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