To be clear, this is not my idea as I first heard it suggested by John Lund of 95.7 FM The Game. I’m sure the signing would prove wildly unpopular, but when you remove emotion from the equation, it sure makes a lot of sense.
Brian Wilson threw about 25 pitches on Monday at USF with a few members of the San Francisco Giants coaching staff and brain trust in attendance. Reportedly, the bearded reliever looked quite good and was described as pretty much game-ready.
Wilson hasn’t pitched since April 12 of last year and only appeared in two games in 2012 as he was sidelined by Tommy John surgery. His return to health comes at a perfect time for the Oakland Athletics.
Grant Balfour has been almost perfect in 2013 — Kendrys Morales‘ moonshot for the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field aside. The rest of the pen, however, could certainly use some help. The team’s group of relievers is actually quite deep, but the Athletics are somewhat short on late-inning power arms.
Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook have both put up strong numbers in 2013, but the pair of second-year relievers has been over-extended a bit in late-game situations. Adding Wilson would slide all of the club’s relievers (except for Balfour, of course) one spot down the depth chart and might result in them pitching in slightly more favorable situations.
Who knows if Wilson would be open to a setup gig. It kind of depends on what the 31-year-old right-hander is looking for in the remainder of 2013. If he wants to win, he might just realize that there aren’t that many playoff-bound squads searching for a shutdown closer.
The Athletics can dangle an incentive-laden contract to Wilson. Maybe guarantee a million bucks for each of the final two months, plus the opportunity to pick up some generous bonuses if he starts racking up stats. Wilson can prove his health and score a multi-year deal from some club in the offseason.
Just think about it. With Wilson and Balfour locking things down, talk about an eccentric back end of the bullpen.