Brian Wilson has started throwing again after missing nearly the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery, but his days with the Giants could be numbered.
Friday is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players and Wilson seems all but certain to be non-tendered by the Giants after being paid $8.5 million in 2012.
Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement the least Wilson could make in 2013 if offered arbitration by the Giants is $6.8 million–a 20 percent pay cut from $8.5 million–but according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle the Giants have no interest in guaranteeing him that much money.
According to Schulman the Giants would still like to sign Wilson for a lesser salary, but the two sides “are not exactly seeing eye to eye” in negotiations and if they can’t work something out by Friday he’ll become a free agent.
It makes little sense for the Giants to commit $6.8 million or more to Wilson considering he’s such a huge question mark at age 31. Even setting aside his uncertain health status few relief pitchers are worth that much of a commitment in the first place and the Royals just made a similar decision in declining their $8 million option on Joakim Soria after Tommy John surgery cost him the whole season.
Based on Schulman’s report it sounds like Wilson might turn down a lesser salary from the Giants based partly on hurt feelings, but the odds of him snagging even $5 million in guaranteed money for 2013 on the open market seem pretty long.
There’s no doubt that the last three years have put David Wright through the ringer. The Mets third baseman missed the bulk of his 2015 season with spinal stenosis and made it through a month of games in 2016 before undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck. In 2017, a bout of shoulder impingement, rotator cuff surgery and a laminotomy procedure on his lower back kept him off the field for all 162 games.
Despite the continual setbacks, Wright told MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, he doesn’t believe retirement is in the cards for him this year. “When the end comes, the end comes,” he said Friday. “Hopefully, I’ve got a little more left. But I guess that’s to be determined.”
The 35-year-old last appeared for High-A St. Lucie in 2017, powering through three games with one hit and five strikeouts in 10 plate appearances. His career has advanced in fits and starts since 2015, but you don’t have to do too much digging to find his last great performance with the Mets. Wright earned his seventh career All-Star berth in 2013, slashing .307/.390/.514 with 18 home runs and a terrific 6.0 fWAR in 492 PA. While he isn’t expected to mash at those levels in the near future, if ever again, the Mets believe the veteran third baseman might still have something left in the tank as he tries to extend a 13-year run in the majors.
Per DiComo, the only thing standing in his way is a clean bill of health — not just for the upcoming season, but for the years to come. Wright said he wouldn’t risk returning to the field if it came with long-term implications for his quality of life.
The surgeries are obviously serious stuff, but it just kind of plays with your mind mentally, where you don’t know how your body’s going to hold up,” Wright said. “You don’t know how you’re going to feel a month from now. You don’t know how you’re going to feel a couple weeks from now. You’re hoping that it continues to get better, but you just don’t know.
Given the uncertainty that surrounds his return to the game, it’s a prudent outlook to have.