Brian Wilson likely headed to free agency

Brian Wilson likely headed to free agency
November 30, 2012, 10:40 pm
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Brian Wilson and the Giants are nowhere near agreement on the shape of a contract for 2013, and barring a last-minute change, the All-Star closer and former World Series hero will be able to shop his services on the open market beginning 9 p.m. Friday night.Wilson will become a free agent if the Giants do not tender him a contract by the deadline. Because tendering him a contract would guarantee him a minimum salary of 6.8 million through arbitration, I'm told Giants do not plan take that tack and Wilson, from what I understand, is viewing that stand as an affront.RELATED: Could Brian Wilson wind up with the Dodgers?
The Giants appetite is to negotiate an incentive-laden contract with a lower guaranteed salary with Wilson. Sabean acknowledged the two parties are not at that stage but he intended to use the nine or so hours remaining before the deadline before making a tender decision just to be thorough.In other words: Almost certainly, Wilson will become a free agent. So his return will be determined by whether he gets a better deal on the open market.The Angels might have provided one clue. They just gave right-hander Ryan Madson a 3.5 million guarantee with another 3.5 million in incentives based on days spent on the active roster and games finished. Madson had Tommy John surgery in March, just a few weeks before Wilson did.RELATED: Giants 'jockey' with Pagan, Scutaro
Then again, Wilson's Tommy John procedure was his second, which makes his rehab schedule and outlook less predictable. Sabean said Wilson is going at a snails pace, which is to be expected following the procedure in April; he continues to play catch from 60 feet on flat ground and has vowed to be fully operational by opening day.Whether Wilson returns or not, it's likely to be another casting call again as the Giants figure out a closer to begin the season. Sergio Romo's emerging effectiveness against left-handers, combined with his terrific postseason culminating with his final pitch to strike out the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera to clinch the World Series title, makes him the prime candidate. But Jeremy Affeldt is returning as well, and the Giants are talking to right-hander Santiago Casilla, who is arbitration-eligible, about a multiyear deal.Although Sabean will look for relief depth on the open market, it will be dependent on what dollars remain, if any, after the club either re-signs or replaces second baseman Marco Scutaro and center fielder Angel Pagan.

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