Brian Wilson nearing agreement to return to Dodgers

What is the market like for Wilson?

Brian Wilson nearing agreement to return to Dodgers
December 3, 2013, 10:15 am
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Brian Wilson was 2-1 with a 0.66 ERA in 18 games for the Dodgers last year. (USATSI)

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SAN FRANCISCO -- In addition to his spot-on performance as a wrestling heel to Giants fans, Brian Wilson was a darn good relief pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers late last season. 

It appears he’s going to reprise both roles.

The Dodgers on Tuesday were closing in on a deal to re-sign Wilson, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports. Wilson had been in discussions with the Detroit Tigers, who were nearing agreement with right-hander Joe Nathan on a two-year deal.

This flurry of activity on the closer market began a day earlier, when the A’s traded for Baltimore closer Jim Johnson in what was a cost-cutting move for the Orioles. The Dodgers had talked to the Orioles about Johnson as well, but it appears they will stick with Kenley Jansen in that role with Wilson setting up.

[NEWS: A's acquire Johnson]

Wilson and the Dodgers were discussing a one-year deal, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, which would allow the right-hander to hit the open market again next winter. Wilson was seeking a closer role but also lives in Southern California -- and if he’d accept a setup job anywhere, it would be within commuting distance for one of the game’s most visible franchises.

The Dodgers have good reason to want Wilson back. He was 2-1 with a 0.66 ERA in 18 games after debuting in August, and struck out 13 in 13.2 innings. The 31-year-old also threw six shutout innings in the Dodgers’ two postseason series. 

In fact, Wilson hasn’t allowed an earned run in 17.2 career postseason innings – and as Giants fans are keenly aware, he threw the final pitch to clinch San Francisco’s first World Series title in 2010.

Wilson underwent Tommy John surgery in April, 2012, and was limited to just two games when the Giants repeated that season. Aware that he would make at least $6.5 million through arbitration, the club did not tender him a contract for 2013 – an act that did not sit well with the three-time All-Star.

The last Giants fans saw of Wilson, he was walking across the field at AT&T Park and shouting at club CEO Larry Baer in a dispute over his 2012 World Series ring. The bizarre scene played out Sept. 26 as the Giants were in a handshake victory line.

[REWIND: Wilson confronts Larry Baer over World Series ring]

Looks like Wilson will get a chance to send many more messages to the Giants and their fans.