SAN FRANCISCO – The Beard is back in The City.
Brian Wilson, who took his Tommy John rehab tour to Hawaii for a few weeks, has been spotted around San Francisco and played a little disc golf in Golden Gate Park on Saturday. He’s throwing off a mound at USF as he gets closer to a showcase session for scouts.
Wilson, a free agent, hopes to sign with a club and parlay six or eight weeks into a solid contract this offseason. It’s a strategy that has paid off for several players. One that comes to mind in recent years, although the scenario wasn’t the same, is Brad Penny, who had a nice late-season turn with the Giants after being acquired in August, 2009, and ended up receiving a solid deal with the Cardinals the following winter.
Giants officials remain interested in tracking Wilson, although the right-hander and one-time postseason hero should have no shortage of interested teams. Back at the winter meetings, several executives told me they were concerned how Wilson’s “act” would play over a full season in a different environment. But those concerns would be mitigated if he’s only joining a club for the stretch drive.
Wilson had Tommy John surgery – the second of his career – in April, 2012 and the Giants elected not to tender him a contract this past winter, making him a free agent. In his final year of arbitration, the Giants would have been required to pay Wilson no less than $6.5 million if they had tendered him an offer.
Wilson was not pleased with the club’s decision, and although time does heal wounds, it’s still a longshot that he would re-sign with his former team.
Photos on Instagram taken by fans this weekend show that Wilson still has his famously black beard. Whether he’s still got his fastball is the next question to be answered.