San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson, who took the Bay Area by storm during the Giants World Series run with his beard-related hijinx, may not be long for the team. The Giants are reportedly kicking around the idea of nontendering Wilson by Friday's deadline, due to the closer missing nearly all of the 2012 season following his second Tommy John surgery and Wilson's desire to be paid like he was in 2012 ($8 million). The Giants apparently have no desire to pay Wilson the $6.8 million they're obligated to offer him in arbitration, let alone more.
I can see both sides of the coin on this one. Wilson had two win seasons for the Giants in both 2009 and 2010, leading to his salary jumping to the level it's currently at. But even before Wilson got hurt at the beginning of the 2012 season, he missed time in 2011 and his velocity considerably dropped off, along with his strikeout rate falling below a batter per inning for the first time since 2007 and his walk rate climbing to over five batters per inning.
Wilson will be 31 at the start of the 2013 season, and as a player with two Tommy John surgeries under the belt, he needs to prove to the Giants that he's truly healthy and worth a contract north of $4 million per season. Despite coming off of their second World Championship in three seasons and their third straight year of over three million fans attending games at AT&T Park, the Giants need to be wise with their money due to Hunter Pence's high arbitration pricetag and the free agent status of both Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro, key members of the 2012 squad.
The Giants already have a lot of money commited to their bullpen in guaranteed contracts to Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez, along with abritration raises upcoming for Jose Mijares, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, and Wilson. In fact, Casilla may also be on the chopping block along with Wilson. Despite all of the positive memories that Wilson has brought to the San Francisco franchise, moving on might be the best thing for both teams this winter.