The only contribution Brian Wilson made to the 2012 Giants was as a high-priced cheerleader.
But he wants to be paid like he saved 30 games and recorded the last out against the Tigers.
Wilson made $8.5 million in 2012 despite pitching just two innings in April before going under the knife for a second Tommy John surgery.
According to Henry Schulman of The Chronicle, the Giants have to offer Wilson a contract by Friday or he becomes a free agent, free to sign with any other team. The Giants want to bring him back but not at the same salary.
Schulman notes that under the collective bargaining agreement, the Giants can’t trim his salary by more than one-fifth, so the least they can offer him is $6.8 million. That’s probably a little more than they are comfortable guaranteeing to a guy coming off major elbow reconstruction surgery.
Of course, they could let the Friday deadline pass and try and sign him later. But they would then be competing against all 29 teams. And there will undoubtedly be a team out there that is desperate for a closer that will overpay for Wilson.
The optimal deal for the Giants would be a one-year deal for a few million loaded with tons of performance-based incentives that bring the deal up into the $8 to $10 million range.
The Giants are going to have one of the highest payrolls in baseball when the dust settles at the end of the offseason. Guaranteeing $8 million for someone with so many question marks isn’t smart. If Wilson isn’t the same pitcher and struggles in 2013, the Giants will be stuck.
But if they give him $3 million upfront and tell him to earn the rest by pitching well, they will be in much better shape in case he isn’t the The Beard.
Giants fans, brace yourselves for the possibility that Wilson and his beard do not return to AT&T Park next year. The Giants love Wilson and he loves the team. But it’s a business and the Giants paid him $15 million over the last two seasons. He can’t expect them to pay him for 2010, as Schulman indicates what Wilson wants the Giants to do. And the Giants shouldn’t pay him for 2010.
Wilson turns 31 during spring training and is coming off a rare second Tommy John surgery. If Wilson doesn’t want to go along with an incentive-laden deal, the Giants may have to let him walk away. The bullpen was fine without him in 2012 and with it remaining largely intact, they will fine without him in 2013.