Brian Wilson: 7 Reasons Why He’s a Valuable Asset To A Playoff Run
How Can Brian Wilson Still Help A Contender?
Fresh off his Tommy John surgery and after a year of rest, Brian Wilson is arguably the most talked-about free agent in MLB. The former San Francisco Giants closer was known for his eccentricities, his undeniable skill and his prominent beard. It’s impossible to forget Wilson’s token reaction when he closed the door on the Texas Rangers and sealed a World Series victory for his Giants in 2010.
The once prolific arm has since fallen on hard times.
Wilson began the 2012 season for the Giants, but after an MRI revealed structural damage in his elbow, he opted to undergo Tommy John surgery and end his season. The Giants then proceeded to cut ties with the bearded wonder and move on.
Now, it is time for the return of the beard.
With potential playoff races beginning to take form, it is high time for contenders to pick up quality players. There is no position more crucial to a playoff run than a closing pitcher — the final barrier between a team and a win.
What better closer was there from 2008-2012 than Brian Wilson?
The answer: None.
While his injuries may lead to hesitation, Tommy John surgery, especially when preformed by the renowned Dr. James Andrews, have had positive effects on pitchers who have undergone the operation. Brian Wilson should not be any different. There are numerous positive qualities he brings to a team. Any team in search of a closer to slam the door on the opposition need look no further, and these are the seven reasons why.
Obviously, the number one reason a team looks to sign a player is because of his skill. There is no denying that Brian Wilson was a dominant closer. At only 31 years of age, it’s ridiculous to think that he has lost his edge. With a 3.21 lifetime ERA, the most saves from 2008 to 2012 and a 9.6 K/9 ratio, the three-time All-Star clearly has the stuff to get the job done.
Baseball is a business. The no. 1 way to turn a profit is to get people to come to games. If Brian Wilson is one thing, he is intriguing. Fans will flock to see the fabled bearded legend return to the diamond in their team’s colors. Not to mention all the merchandising options he opens up — for instance, the Giants’ ‘Fear the Beard’ extravaganza.
Relievers are a high-demand, low-supply resource. Closers are even more polarized. Teams without an effective closer are incredibly vulnerable to late-inning losses that can destroy the morale of a team. In the playoffs, this morale is what propels teams to series wins.
A lot can be said of a seasoned veteran closer, particularly one such as Wilson, who has had to shut the door in a World Series-clinching game against one of the most feared lineups in MLB. His hardened, unshaken presence on the mound is unlikely to be broken easily. This stoic nature is priceless in high-pressure situations.
Eccentricity is an adjective that more than adequately describes Wilson’s persona as a baseball player. His personality, as can be attested to by his teammates, is always positive, uplifting and enjoyable. Being able to lighten up a situation is an incredibly undervalued skill in a professional athlete.
Along with being an upbeat individual, Wilson is also incredibly intelligent and insightful. Pair this with his overwhelming confidence, and it's easy to see how the aura that surrounds Wilson has immense positive impacts on his teammates. Confidence is contagious, and Wilson is more than willing to share his surplus.
Dyed or not, it’s a figure in and of itself. ‘Fear the Beard’ was heard across the San Francisco Bay when he took the mound in the ninth inning. The Beard ties the man together. It establishes lore around the closer — intimidating the opposition, lightening the mood for his teammates and giving the fans a rallying cry that keeps them coming back to the ballpark. The only question that remains is what color he will have to dye his beard in order to match a new uniform color.