One of the more notable non-tenders when the deadline passed on Friday was that of San Francisco Giants reliever Brian Wilson. The former closer, who was dominant for stretches in his time with the Giants, was cut loose after missing nearly all of the 2012 season because of Tommy John surgery.
The TJ surgery was his second, and he has a history of health problems, obviously. That, combined with the matter of his sizable salary, along with the emergence of Sergio Romo at the backend of the San Francisco bullpen led to Wilson being cut loose.
That prompted quick speculation as to who could sign the colorful closer. The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers were among the first teams mentioned. The Dodgers, at least, seem unlikely, and the plans of the Red Sox are really unknown at this point. What we do know is that Wilson will likely be looking to sign with a contender.
But what if he ended up going in another direction with that criteria? What if he signed with, say, the Chicago Cubs? While the move hasn’t been speculated by many, there would be a fit, for multiple reasons.
The first is that he fits a need. The Cubs are making the right moves towards improving their bullpen, agreeing to sign Kyuji Fujikawa, but there is still plenty of work to be done. Wilson would be a nice arm to add to the back of the Chicago ‘pen. The second is that Wilson is going to need to prove himself.
After two Tommy John surgeries, no one is going to want to sign Wilson to a multi-year deal. He’s going to have to prove he’s healthy and earn a bigger contract. He can spend the first half doing that with the Cubs before getting spun off to a contender at the trade deadline, just as the Cubs have been practicing.
A potential Wilson move would be one that would probably be unpopular among some Cub fans, who aren’t big fans of Wilson’s shtick. But in what is expected to be another pitiful year, he’d add some flavor to the clubhouse. He’d be able to drive up his value and could end up fetching a decent return in July.
Of course, this is all speculation. But there’s no denying that there is a fit on both sides, and it could be an intriguing addition for the Cubs.