Brian Wilson Rumors
Brian Wilson has saved 171 games for the Giants dating back to 2006, but now, following his Tommy John surgery earlier this year, it appears likely that he'll be non-tendered, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
As Schulman notes, teams must pay arbitration-eligible players at least 80 percent of their previous salary, which would mean the minimum offer the Giants can make Wilson is $6.8MM. That's a hefty price tag for a closer coming off Tommy John, even if he was elite at his peak. The Giants would like to non-tender Wilson and re-sign him to a one-year deal with a lower base salary, but Wilson isn't as open to that scenario.
In addition to his 171 saves, Wilson has earned three All-Star bids and anchored the bullpen for the Giants' 2010 World Series victory, Over the course of 320 career innings, he's pitched to a 3.21 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9. Wilson appeared in only two games this season, gutting out a save in his final appearance despite the damaged ligament in his arm.
Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla filled in admirably in Wilson's absence this season. Schulman notes, however, that Casilla himself could end up being non-tendered for salary reasons. Matt Swartz projects a $5.4MM salary for Casilla through arbitration following a solid season.
Rangers right-hander Mike Adams had successful surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome yesterday, reports Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com (on Twitter). The free agent-to-be reliever should be healthy in time for Spring Training. Here's the latest from baseball's two West divisions...
- "They pay me to be me, and I will be," said Giants closer Brian Wilson to reporters (including Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle). He is recovering from Tommy John surgery and hasn't thought about his role going forward (Twitter links). Wilson is a non-tender candidate after earning $8.5MM in the second year of a two-year deal in 2012.
- "I think there will certainly be interest," said Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson to Arizona Sport 620's Burns & Gambo when asked if the team has trade interest in Alex Rodriguez. The D'Backs are said to be seeking a third baseman, and GMs Kevin Towers and Brian Cashman worked together in the Yankees' front office in 2010.
- The Rangers have hired Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan to be their hitting coach, reports WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. Texas has since confirmed the hire.
Buster Posey has a legitimate chance at the NL MVP this year, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. Posey has 20 home runs and a .327/.402/.531 batting line with nearly six wins above replacement (5.8 according to FanGraphs, 5.5 according to Baseball-Reference). Here are more of Olney’s notes from the NL West...
- Rival executives expect the Diamondbacks to trade Justin Upton this winter, Olney reports. Some team officials believe the Diamondbacks will also trade center fielder Chris Young, possibly for a shortstop. Young earns $8.5MM next year and his contract includes an $11MM club option for 2014, so he'd represent a more affordable alternative to free agents such as B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn and Shane Victorino. Arizona could then enter the 2013 season with a projected outfield of Gerardo Parra, Jason Kubel and Adam Eaton.
- Olney suggests the Giants will move on from Brian Wilson this offseason. Wilson, who appeared in two games this year before undergoing Tommy John surgery, will be arbitration eligible this coming offseason. He’ll be expensive if the Giants tender him a contract, as he earned an $8.5MM salary in 2012. It’d make sense for the Giants to see if there’s trade interest in the 30-year-old, Olney writes.
Giants closer Brian Wilson is officially out for the season and will likely undergo his second Tommy John surgery, according to Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area. Baggarly adds that Wilson's elbow troubles date back to a flexor strain suffered in 2010, and while that issue didn't involve his UCL, this current injury does. Wilson knew he'd injured himself significantly on a pitch to Tyler Colvin, but wanted his final pitch to be one that saved Madison Bumgarner's win (which it did).
Since taking over as the Giants' full-time closer in 2008, Wilson has pitched to a 3.04 ERA over 266 1/3 innings en route to 164 saves. He's posted a strong 10.1 K/9 to go along with a 3.8 BB/9 in that time, and led the National League in 2010 with 48 saves. He plans to spend the season with his team, and in his usual joking manner, told reporters the injury was only a minor setback because he plans on pitching forever.
With Wilson on the shelf, the Giants plan to go with a committee to close games, using a combination of Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, and Javier Lopez to close games. Fantasy players can follow along with the latest updates on Wilson and other closers by following @Closernews on Twitter.
A few items of note to share out of MLB's West divisions ...
- Things don't look good for Giants closer Brian Wilson, manager Bruce Bochy told reporters, including Steve Kroner of the SFGate.com. The Beard has "structural issues" in his right elbow and could be facing surgery.
- The news on Wilson prompted Bob Nightengale of USA Today to wonder whether the Giants would check in with the Astros on closer Brett Myers, whom Houston has been shopping for the past few months, if Wilson is in fact out for the season's balance or a substantial period of time (Twitter link).
- Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson doesn't hold a grudge against the Yankees for not attempting to sign him this offseason, according to Richard Justice of MLB.com, though the lefty intimates that it bothered him at the time: "Everybody has different constraints. There's not one way to build a team. They obviously went after a couple of pitchers. Obviously, both those guys did really good last year. You can't hold a grudge forever. You move on. I'm here. I'm an Angel. That's it."
- Padres lefty Cory Luebke discussed how last month's multiyear extension came to pass with Jeff Rickard and Jeff Nelson of MLB Network Radio's "Home Plate" on SiriusXM (audio link): "It wasn't something I expected, by any means. I was pretty surprised when they asked me if it was something I'd be willing to do. ... There's a little peace of a mind, but I think we get more peace of mind when we're winning ballgames than dealing with the financial side of it, but it does offer a little security."
- "It’s strictly a money thing," said Lance Berkman to reporters (including Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and B.J. Rains of FOXSportsMidwest.com) when asked about Roy Oswalt (Twitter links). "The Cardinals [offer] ... wasn’t enough to lure him out of Mississippi ... I think he feels like that he can get the same money in half a season as he could in a full season and he’s probably right."
- "He's under control this year and next year, and we're in the monitoring stage for obvious reasons," said Giants GM Brian Sabean to Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle when asked about the future of Brian Wilson. "We're still in the wait-and-see period." Wilson can become a free agent after 2013.
Octavio Dotel will become the first player in MLB history to play for 13 teams when he appears in his first game with the Tigers, as Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press writes. Matt Stairs, Mike Morgan and Ron Villone currently share the record with Dotel, who hopes to retire a Tiger.
- Commissioner Bud Selig spoke about an international draft in this piece by Josh Leventhal of Baseball America. "We'll watch the situation carefully and make the right decision," said Selig. "I can't say [when a draft would be put in place]. We want to see how [the process] works out."
- ESPN's Keith Law published his first list of the top 50 prospects in this year's draft (Insider req'd). High school outfielder Byron Buxton topped list, following by high school righty Lucas Giolito and Stanford righty Mark Appel.
Giants closer Brian Wilson, Athletics catcher Kurt Suzuki, Astros first baseman Brett Wallace, and Twins outfielder Jason Repko are represented by agent Dan Lozano, MLBTR has learned. Lozano left Beverly Hills Sports Council to form his own agency in June, and these four players are among many who went with him. Here's a look at Lozano's client list; click here for BHSC.
Wondering about a player's representation or an agency's client list? MLBTR's newly-launched, constantly-updated Agency Database puts all of the information at your fingertips. A link to the database can always be found in the Tools menu on the navigation bar. If you have any corrections or omissions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy 92nd birthday to one of baseball's all-time great pitchers, Bob Feller. "Rapid Robert" piled up 266 wins and 2581 strikeouts in his Hall of Fame career. In tribute to Feller, it's only appropriate that we start this batch of news items with something from Cleveland...
- Infielder Drew Sutton is eligible for free agency after being outrighted to Triple-A by the Indians, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The article notes that Andy Marte is expected to be removed from the Cleveland roster before the Rule 5 draft deadline. Also from Hoynes (via Twitter), the Phillies claimed shortstop Carlos Rivero on waivers from the Tribe. Rivero has a .676 OPS in 2156 minor league plate appearances, none above the Double-A level.
- Hal Steinbrenner's recent comments about the Derek Jeter talks strike ESPN's Buster Olney "as if he's preparing the NYY fans for an ugly Jeter negotiation" (Twitter link).
- Now that the A's have exercised Mark Ellis' option for 2011, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that the team will look into an extension for the veteran second baseman.
- Buster Posey and Brian Wilson are the key reasons why the Giants have a chance to win another World Series, says Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. "How many teams can say, right now, they have zero interest in upgrading at the need-to-have positions of catcher or closer?", Morosi asks. He cites just the Phillies and Twins, and even those two clubs come with question marks.
- Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com thinks the Giants should sign Eric Chavez to a minor-league contract. (Twitter link)
- Bruce Chen wants a multiyear deal but the Royals are "unlikely" to make the left-hander such an offer, tweets The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton.
- It could be a bad omen for David Ortiz's $12.5MM option that another slugging DH (Vladimir Guerrero) had his $9MM option for 2011 declined by Texas earlier today, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
- Tampa Bay added Elliot Johnson to its 40-man roster, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. Without the move, Johnson would've become a free agent. Johnson had a breakout minor league campaign in Triple-A last season, posting a .319/.375/.475 line and winning the International League MVP award.
- In response to a fan mailbag question about Adam Dunn, MLB.com's Bill Ladson warns about the dangers of the Nationals offering a long-term deal to a defensively-challenged slugger. He points out how fans were also wishing the Nats signed Alfonso Soriano to an extension, but in hindsight Washington made the right move.
- Nationals right-hander Collin Balester is looking for members to join his 'Movember' team. Click here to sign up and join Balester in raising money and awareness in the fight against prostate cancer.
Carlos Marmol and the Cubs agreed to a one-year, $2.125MM contract last February as the reliever and club avoided a hearing in Marmol's first arbitration season. The deal gave Marmol almost four times what he earned in 2009, and he'll be up for another big raise this winter whether he and the Cubs work out another one-year deal or if they pursue a longer-term option.
Marmol took over as Chicago's closer midway through the 2009 season, but his control problems made some wonder whether Marmol could last in the role. While Marmol is still walking more batters than the Cubs would like (a 6.1 BB/9 rate), it's still an improvement over the 7.9 BB/9 rate that he posted last year. More importantly, Marmol has also improved his ERA, WHIP, hits/9 rate and K/BB ratio from 2009, and upped his already-impressive 11.3 K/9 rate last season to a whopping 15.9 K/9 in 2010. His 62 games finished are also the most in baseball.
Should the Cubs wish to pursue a one-year deal with Marmol again, Heath Bell's one-year, $4MM deal with the Padres last winter is a suitable model. Bell, like Marmol, was coming off his first season as his team's closer and delivered an All-Star performance. Bell's 2009 and Marmol's 2010 were pretty similarly impressive --- Bell had the better K/BB ratio, BB/9 and WHIP, while Marmol has the superior K/9 rate, HR/9, hits/9, and has already thrown more innings. Bell did have the advantage of pitching at PETCO Park, so between that and inflation, Marmol has an argument that he should earn closer to $5MM than $4MM.
In terms of a multi-year option, Marmol and agent Barry Praver will look at Brian Wilson's two-year, $15MM extension with San Francisco as a starting point. While Wilson has certainly pitched well enough this season to lower some of the eyebrows that were raised when he signed that extension last winter, the Cubs may hesitate to commit that much money to Marmol given his still-present control issues. It should be noted, however, that even with Marmol's 2009 wildness, he still put up a 3.41 ERA and held opposing batters to a .170 average, so it's not like he pitched poorly. If Marmol's 2011 season is akin to his 2009, it would still be a campaign that the Cubs wouldn't feel sick about paying around $7.5MM to keep.
Given Marmol's high ceiling, the Cubs might be wise to shoot for an option-heavy contract similar to the one that their ex-closer Kevin Gregg received from the Blue Jays last winter. Gregg received $2.75MM for 2010, and the Jays can pick up a 2011 option for $4.5MM or an option for both 2011 and 2012 for a total of $8.75MM. Obviously Toronto was able to get such a team-friendly deal since Gregg struggled in 2009, but if the Cubs double the dollar amounts, Marmol might accept the cost-certainty. The last option year (that would theoretically cover Marmol's first free agent year) could be adjusted to a mutual option, giving Marmol the ability to walk away after 2012 if he thinks there's an eight-figure offer on the market. If Marmol keeps up his form from the last four seasons, such an offer would certainly exist.
Chicago already has approximately $103MM committed to next year's payroll, and that's not counting the pay bump that Geovany Soto (an extension candidate himself) will get in his first year of arbitration. Given the fungibility of relief pitching, the Cubs may lock up Marmol for next year and revisit his contract situation next offseason, thus taking the risk of having to pay more in 2012 for a pitcher who is on the cusp of being one of baseball's elite closers. Either that or a combination of the Wilson and Gregg contracts --- a two-year, $15MM deal with a team option to buy out Marmol's first free agent year for $10MM.
The Giants and Matt Cain have agreed to a three-year contract extension, writes Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News. The deal, which will cover Cain through the 2012 season, buys out one year of the hurler's free agency. On Friday, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle speculated (via Twitter) that the Giants could be close to an extension with the 25-year-old.
Baggarly tweets that Cain will still make $4.5MM in 2010, $8MM in 2011, and $15MM in 2012. The new agreement voids Cain's old contract, in which he would have earned $4.25MM in 2010 with a $6.25MM club option for the following year. The old contract also included escalators based on innings pitched and games started that could have tacked another $1.9MM onto the 2011 option.