When news broke Tuesday that Brian Wilson had signed had signed with the hated Los Angeles Dodgers, Twitter blew up with a mix of reaction from San Francisco Giants fans that ranged from “thanks for the memories” to “burn in Hell, you traitor.”
MoreSplashHits is convinced that if Wilson had signed with any other team, the reaction from Giants fans would have been almost universal “Thanks, and good luck.” But the Dodgers?
We finally heard from Wilson on Wednesday via post on gossip site TMZ.com.
Oh, and on a side note, is it odd to anyone else that this is the second time in the last few months that TMZ has been lucky enough to “catch” Wilson strolling down a public street? I mean, if there’s any place Wilson with his trademark beard could bleed into anonimity, it’s on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.
Anywho, in the video (which can be viewed above), Wilson said: “I don’t worry about rivalry, bro. I just want to play baseball. You know, if there are 30 teams out there and 29 teams don’t want me, what am I going to do, say I’m not going to play baseball?”
He continued: “I’ve got much love for San Francisco. We had a good time. But there’s nothing I can do. They don’t want me back, so it’s all good.”
We get it. If you’re a free agent, you can choose where you want to play. And the Dodgers are an attractive destination. They are a contender. Wilson lives in Malibu. And the Dodgers have deep pockets.
Just don’t expect to get Buster Hugs from Giants fans. For the record, the Dodgers play three more games in San Francisco this season: on Sept. 24, 25 and 26 (Games No. 157, 158 and 159 of the season).
Wilson had a public tit-for-tat with the Giants last offseason when negotiations between the two parties broke down because the Giants didn’t offer him a guaranteed contract and Wilson felt the Giants owed him more — even though the Giants paid him more than $8 million in 2012 for two appearances.
Why wouldn’t you expect a guy like that wouldn’t go running to the free-spending Dodgers?
Giants CEO Larry Baer thanked Wilson for his service with the Giants, and added that Wilson signing with the Dodgers “doesn’t mean he’ll never be a Giant again. People go and come back.”
I’m sure Baer was speaking in broader terms, as in Giants who leave the Giants, then return later.
But if you’re talking about San Francisco Giants who left to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers then returned to the Giants, we could only find one example of that.
Jose Vizcaino, who started his career as a Dodgers in 1989-90 before being traded to the Cubs, was traded from the Indians to the Giants after the 1996 season. After the 1997 season, Vizcaino signed with the Dodgers and played there for two-plus seasons. Six years after leaving LA, Vizcaino re-signed with the Giants for the 2006 season. He hit .210 in 136 games that season before being released in August.
What’s the price of one’s soul? Brian Wilson will soon find out.
The former Giants closer reached a minor-league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, USA Today reported on Tuesday.
Wilson has not pitched since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April 2012 after making just two appearances for the Giants in the 2012 season. Then he became grumpy when the Giants didn’t offer him a contract in the offseason for what would have cost the Giants more than $6 million.
Wilson vowed to be ready by spring training. But workouts last January showed that Wilson was still a long way off from being ready.
Then we lost sight of The Beard, until he showed up in San Francisco last week to throw for scouts that included the Giants.
But ultimately, Wilson, who lives in Malibu, decided to join Big Blue. Reports say Wilson could be called up to the big club in as soon as two weeks.
When that happens, Wilson will join a long and storied list of players who have played for the Giants and Dodgers.
But since Ned Colletti left the Giants to become the Dodgers general manager after the 2005 season, the outcome for players leaving the Giants and directly joining the Dodgers have not been good.
Played for Giants in 2005, signed by Dodgers as free agent before 2006 season
With the Dodgers
- 2006 — 8-7, 4.73 ERA, 112.1 IP in 44 games, 15 starts
- 2007 — 2-11, 5.80 ERA, 104 IP in 33 games, 15 starts
DFA’d on Aug. 24, 2007
Played for Giants in 2006, signed by Dodgers as free agent before 2007 season
With the Dodgers
- 2007 — 1-4, 6.31 ERA, 25.2 IP in 6 starts
- 2008 — Did not pitch, injured
- 2009 — 2-2, 5.60 ERA, 17.2 IP in 4 starts
Retired from baseball after 2009 season
Traded by Giants to Dodgers on Aug. 9, 2007
With the Dodgers
- 2007 — 0 HR, 3 RBI, .273 in 33 ABs in 30 games
- 2008 — 0 H, 5 RBI, .130 in 92 ABs in 98 games
Retired from baseball after 2008 season
Played with Giants in 2010, signed with Dodgers as free agent before 2011 season
With the Dodgers
- 2011 — 0 HR, 1 RBI, .000 in 34 games
Released after 2011 season
Played with Giants in 2010, signed with Dodgers as free agent before 2011 season
With the Dodgers
- 2011 — 4 HR, 28 RBI, .204
- 2012 — 2 HR, 17 RBI, .191
- 2013 — 5 HR, 30 RBI, .262
There are 33 players who filed for free agency this offseason who have still not signed with a new team as of March 9.
Five of those unsigned players were employed by the Giants in 2012, more than any other franchise.
And that doesn’t even count Brian Wilson, who became a free agent when the Giants non-tendered him in December.
The Giants started the offseason with 10 free agents. The three they wanted they re-signed: RP Jeremy Affeldt, 2B Marco Scutaro and OF Angel Pagan. The two they didn’t want signed elsewhere: OF Melky Cabrera (Toronto) and OF Xavier Nady (Kansas City).
And then there are the other five.
GUILLERMO MOTA: There is not market for a 39-year-old reliever fresh off a season in which he served a 100-game suspension for a PED second strike. A third strike and he’s done. He may be done already.
FREDDY SANCHEZ: Sanchez hasn’t played a big-league game since separating his shoulder in June 2011. He said last month he’s not ready to retire, adding his “dream situation” would be to re-sign with the Giants. There is not indication of that happening, and he has not joined another club.
RYAN THERIOT: Theriot went into the offseason looking for increased playing time. That is what drew him to the Giants last offseason. He got that, but then lost it when the Giants traded for Marco Scutaro. Theriot was said to be talking with the Indians and Rangers, but that was three weeks ago.
BRAD PENNY: Penny made 31 starts for Detroit in 2011. After giving a Japan a try in early 2012, he signed with the Giants midseason, and served out of their pen in the final months of the season.
AUBREY HUFF: Huff may the most realistic of the bunch, telling the San Francisco Chronicle that he’s “pretty much retired.” He said he’s happy spending time with family instead of getting ready for another season. So the next time we might see Huff is to collect his World Series ring next month, although he said he has not received an invite from the Giants to do so.
And then there’s the erstwhile closer, Brian Wilson.
Back in the December, the Giants were faced with three choices regarding Wilson — offer him a contract of a minimum of $6.8 million, try to negotiate a deal at a much lower rater or non-tender him.
Well, it was obvious they wouldn’t do the first. When Wilson became offended by the Giants’ offer of a incentive-laden deal, they turned to option No. 3: a non-tender.
Then we heard from Wilson camp about the multitude of teams who were interested in his services, with no actual teams named.
Wilson threw for the Mets once in January and again in February, and the Mets determined Wilson wasn’t close to pitching again in the bigs.
Now, it’s March and the last time we saw Wilson came last week when TMZ posted a video of Wilson, looking scruffier than ever, doing some shopping in a ketchup-stained T-shirt. The person taking the video asked Wilson if he would ever shave his now infamous beard to sign with the Yankees, who have a no-facial-hair policy.
Wilson’s answer? “I’m from Boston.”
Most people around baseball are talking about how devastating it is for the Giants to lose closer Brian Wilson for the season.
But for those Giants fans who have watched Wilson over the past two seasons, we’ve seen something different.
In 2008, when the Giants turned over the closer job to a 26-year-old Wilson, he recorded 41 saves, and casual observers were impressed. But other numbers were less impressive: 4.62 ERA, 4.0 walks per 9 innings, 9.7 Ks per 9 and 1.44 WHIP.
Over the next two years, the numbers got better:
2009: 38 saves, 2.74 ERA, 3.4 BB per 9 IP, 10.3 K per 9 IP, 1.20 WHIP
2010: 48 saves, 1.81 ERA, 3.1 BB per 9 IP, 11.2 K per 9 IP, 1.18 WHIP
That’s what people remember, the 2010 Wilson who led the Giants in the NL West division title, NL championship and World Series title.
But then came the 2011 Brian Wilson:
3.11 ERA, 5.1 BB per 9 IP, 8.8 K per 9 IP, 1.47 WHIP.
One stat the was probably most discouraging: Between 2008-10, Wilson allowed between 13-18 percent of inherited runners to score.
In 2011, he allowed 46 percent.
Giants fans knew something wasn’t right with Wilson. The Giants knew that too. That’s why in the offseason they made moves to keep both Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt when conventional wisdom had it that they would keep one.
Then the Giants held Wilson back early in spring training, then later kept him out of major-league spring training games. Could it be they did that to hide him while he worked on adjustments and changed his pitching approach?
So, after watching those first two regular-season outings in Colorado, it was hardly a stunner to Giants fans that Wilson would be done for the year.
But moving forward, when the Giants look for a replacement to close games, what they need is someone who can replace the 2011 Wilson, not the 2010 Wilson.
The 2010 Wilson was long gone. The best the Giants could have hoped for Wilson in 2012 is a repeat of 2011.
Now that they turn to Santiago Casilla to close, they can hope for more.
Here are Casilla’s numbers since joining the Giants in 2010:
2010: 1.95 ERA, 4.2 BB per 9 IP, 9.1 K per 9 IP, 1.193 WHIP
2011: 1.74 ERA, 4.4 BB per 9 IP, 7.8 K per 9 IP, 1.123 WHIP
He converted 8 of 10 save opportunites in 2010-11, the bulk of which came late last season when Wilson went on the DL. He allowed 13 and 20 percent of inherited runners to score in the past two seasons.
Casilla’s numbers don’t measure up to Wilson’s in 2010. But they are MUCH better than Wilson in 2011.
So, the Giants will be just fine with Casilla as closer. Frankly, I feel better with Casilla going out there in the ninth than being forced to watch Wilson try to gut out three outs.
Now, I know there are some who will say pitching in the ninth is much different than pitching in seventh or eighth.
But I don’t agree. This is the Giants we’re talking about. Given their offensive struggles, they play in a high number of close games. And with their offensive problems, a run surrendered in the seventh or eighth is just as likely to cost the team a win as one given up in the ninth.
Giants relievers are well-versed in pitching under pressure.
On Tuesday, Casilla earned his first save of 2012, giving up just one hit — a bloop single by Juan Pierre — and no walks in his inning of work.
It’s Matt Cain vs. Cliff Lee in the series finale between the Giants and Phillies at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
So clearly, nothing was wrong with Brian Wilson, eh Giants?.
The San Francisco Giants closer is likely headed for surgery on his right elbow after an MRI show structural damage and an issue with the ligament, the Associated Press reported.
While Saturday’s comes as a bit of a surprise, in another sense it doesn’t at all.
Wilson was handled very delicately all spring. He made a late start before appearing in a spring training game. Then spent the rest of spring training pitching in minor league games.
He made his regular-season debut on Wednesday in Colorado, giving up one run in a non-save situation.
He recorded his first save of the season Thursday in Colorado, when he pitched the ninth with a three-run lead. After giving up one run, Wilson left the bases loaded before recording the final out.
In that outing, manager Bruce Bochy and trainer Dave Groeschner came out to visit Wilson after the pitcher “tweaked his ankle.” He finished the inning out, even though he had clearly lost velocity on his pitches.
The Associated Press reported that the Giants will seek at least one other opinion, probably two, including renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
Wilson, 30, reported discomfort in his elbow on Friday and was sent for tests. Translation: The pain from his “tweaked ankle” radiated all the way to his elbow by Friday.
Actual translation: Wilson never tweaked his ankle at all. Reporters after the game said Wilson did not ice his ankle after the game, and was seen walking with no noticeable limp and in flip-flops.
He was to be examined by team orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki on Saturday night.
In the short team, it means that Wilson will undoubtedly be placed on the disabled list, clearing a roster spot for Ryan Vogelsong who will be activated from the DL and make his first start on Sunday.
We’d expect Santiago Casilla to act as the Giants closer for now, but Sergio Romo could also be a candidate.
Look for the Giants to find closer candidates from within the current active roster before going to alternates in the minors, like Fresno closer Heath Hembree.
In the long term, Wilson is making $8.5 million in 2012, and 2013 is his final arbitration eligible season.
The Giants are heading home with a win, and a severe case of the Willies.
After Madison Bumgarner pitched 7 1/3 stellar innings, Brian Wilson recorded his first save of the year with a heavy dose of drama.
“It’s not like I want to pitch in that situation,” Wilson said. “But when I do, I feel like I’ve been more successful than not.”
I guess that’s true. But we’d gladly take a 1-2-3 inning.
Wilson’s ninth-inning adventure began with a double by Troy Tulowitzki followed by an infield single by Michael Cuddyer when Brandon Crawford smothered the ball but could not throw out Cuddyer.
Wilson threw a 94-mph fastball past Wilin Rosario for strike three and the first out.
Jason Giambi singled to right to load the bases, then Todd Helton smoked a liner right at Emmaunel Burriss for the second out.
Then on a 1-0 pitch to Tyler Colvin, Wilson turned his ankle. Trainer Dave Groeschner came out and Wilson threw a warmup pitch before declaring that he was fine.
“No big deal,” Wilson said. “It’s really nothing, just one of those things they have to check in — a non-issue.”
But radar gun said something different, as Wilson strained to get his fastball to reach 90 mph the rest of the inning.
He walked Colvin to make it 4-2. Marco Scutaro worked the count to 2-2 before flying out to Nate Schierholtz in right to end the game.
“It’s Willy’s way,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Bochy added that, with Wilson throwing back-to-back days and laboring through a 32-pitch inning, that The Beard would likely not be used in Friday’s home opener against the Pirates.
In the end, the late drama almost overshadowed an outstanding effort from Bumgarner, who bounced back nicely from a rough opener last week in Arizona.
He gave up one run on four hits and two walks.
Even though the Giants score four runs for the sixth time in six games this season, it was pitching that supplied their two wins — first from Zito and Bumgarner.
“It’s our game,” Bochy said. “It’s what we count on. It means you have a chance to win the game.”
And the pitching as a whole should be better at home, as the Giants open a six-game homestead Friday.
“We’ve been on the road so much,” Bochy said. “The guys have dealt with it great. But it’s time to go home and get settled in our ballpark.”
- Melky Cabrera went 2 for 4 with a double and two RBI as he continues to swing a hot bat, hitting .385.
- After a slow start, Brandon Crawford is heating up. He went 2 for 4 with a double and run scored and now is hitting .261.
- Two players who are not heating up: Angel Pagan (.130) and Ryan Theriot (.125). They may both be sitting on Friday (we can only hope).
Matt Cain gets the call for the home opener against James McDonald and the Pirates at 1:30 p.m. Friday at AT&T Park. That is, if the game is played. Thunder storms rolled through the Bay Area Thursday night and Friday’s forecast calls for more and a 100 percent chance of rain.
We came pretty close on a predicted lineup Thursday, so we’ll take another shot at it for Friday. Our lone doubt is the leadoff spot and whether or not Bochy has the stones (or brains) to sit Pagan on the home opener.
CF Gregor Blanco
RF Melky Cabrera
3B Pablo Sandoval
C Buster Posey
LF Aubrey Huff
1B Brandon Belt
SS Brandon Crawford
2B Emmanuel Burriss
P Matt Cain
The rest of the series goes:
Pirates (TBA) vs. Giants (Zito), 6:05 p.m. Saturday
Pirates (Correia) vs. Giants (Vogelsong), 1:05 p.m. Sunday
Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
The Giants hope that Freddy Sanchez will play his first game in the field on Friday.
Sanchez is slated to take infield practice on Thursday. If he shows manager Bruce Bochy what he wants to see, then Sanchez will play at second base Friday. If not, then he won’t.
And if he doesn’t play in the field Friday, it’s time to really start thinking about Sanchez missing opening day.
Sanchez even admitted Monday that it’s “getting late here.”
“The big thing is double plays,” Sanchez said. “I’m not getting as much on my throws as I should.”
RYAN VOGELSONG: The news was better on Vogelsong. He is scheduled to make his spring training debut on Saturday, when he’ll pitch one inning in the home split-squad game against the Rockies.
Bochy said the plan is to get Vogelsong up to five innings and 70 pitches by the end of spring training. But it’s a narrow window.
If Saturday is his first start, he would get two more starts before the start of the season on normal rest: March 29 vs. the Rangers and April 3 vs. the Athletics in Oakland. That would align him to make his first regular-season start on April 9 at Colorado.
Bochy said that Vogelsong will throw only one inning in the game because “he’ll be amped and we don’t want any setbacks.”
Translation: He’ll likely throw more in the bullpen after his one inning Saturday. He threw 40 pitches in a live BP session on Tuesday.
Still, it seems extremely tight. It would make more sense to use the April 10 off day to skip Vogey’s turn and have him open season on April 15 at home vs. Pirates.
BRIAN WILSON: The Giants said they are taking the foot off the accelerator on Wilson’s pitching schedule after The Beard reported mild arm soreness.
Wilson last pitched Saturday and had been throwing every three days. The Giants have pushed him back to Thursday.
He played catch Wednesday and looked fine, according to CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly. Bochy said if it had been the regular season, Wilson would have pitched.
Wilson has hit 96 mph on the gun this spring, and Bochy called this normal spring soreness.
OK. But, still, hmmm.
BUSTER POSEY: Posey caught a spring-high six innings Tuesday and looked good when he pounced on a bunt attempt and threw out the batter at first.
“Buster looks fine,” Bochy said. “We’ll start cranking it up a little bit here.”
The next step is catching back-to-back games, which could come soon. Posey was in the lineup Wednesday as a DH.
Many fans and media members have commented that opening day is two weeks away and Posey is only catching six innings.
It’s not that he CAN’T catch a full game. It’s that the Giants are taking it conservatively, trying not to push things, waiting to see how Posey reacts.
So far, Posey has responded well to every step he has taken this spring.