Brian Wilson was the most noteworthy name among those who were non-tendered last night. There’s still a chance he could return to the Giants at a discounted rate, but Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle hears that his tenure in San Francisco is almost certainly over.
The Giants technically can negotiate a lower-priced, incentive-rich deal with Wilson now that he is a free agent, but multiple sources said the 30-year-old right-hander is upset about the Giants’ stance and has told people he will sign elsewhere.
Wilson made an $8.5 million salary this past season and the Giants weren’t willing to offer him the minimum guarantee of $6.8 million through arbitration coming off his second Tommy John surgery. While Wilson apparently took issue with that, it was an understandable decision from a business perspective, as the Giants’ bullpen is already pretty expensive and $6.8 million is a lot to guarantee to a reliever, especially one who is still rehabbing from surgery.
Wilson figures to land a deal similar in structure to Ryan Madson’s one-year contract with the Angels, which includes a $3.5 million base salary and $3.5 million in possible incentives based on days spent on the roster and games finished. The Dodgers and Red Sox have been mentioned as two possible landing spots.
Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.
Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.
The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.