Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Wednesday evening that Brian Wilson has begun to turn the corner in his recovery from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. So it stands to reason that the free agent reliever is now starting to talk with teams that want to sign him.
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Mets are “showing strong interest” in Wilson and sent general manager Sandy Alderson to a private workout with the right-hander on Saturday. They’re presumably viewing him as a low-risk, high-reward type of guy who could be flipped for youth at this year’s trade deadline if he enjoys a decent first half.
The Mets’ current closer, Frank Francisco, posted an ugly 5.53 ERA and 1.61 WHIP across 42 1/3 innings last summer for New York. He’s entering the final chapter of a two-year, $12 million contract.
Wilson, who should ne near full strength on Opening Day, owns a 3.21 career ERA.
Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.
The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.