On Tuesday, we learned that the Dodgers and Brian Wilson agreed on a Major League contract. The former Giants closer is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, required after succumbing to injury in his second appearance of the 2012 season. Current Giants closer Sergio Romo, normally solid, had a horrendous July, posting a 5.63 ERA in nine appearances — and it continued last night as he magically escaped a bases loaded, no out jam against the Phillies unscathed. The Giants were one of several teams interested in obtaining Wilson’s services over the final two months of the season, but backed off after internal discussions.
Via CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly:
Upper management recognized the value that Wilson had both as an attraction and an endearing figure in franchise history. Others in the organization were put off by Wilson’s antics and the fact he showed up all of the sudden down the stretch, cavorting around the dugout just when all the national cameras showed up.
But ultimately, CEO Larry Baer told Sabean to make a baseball decision. And part of a baseball decision is making sure you have a healthy and cohesive clubhouse.
Wilson’s antics are harmless when the team is winning because everyone is happy. When the team is losing, as the Giants are, Wilson’s antics can become irritating and distracting. The Phillies are another great example of this, as GM Ruben Amaro scolded Cliff Lee for pranking his teammates when they participated in live in-game interviews. Lee has always been known to do that, and it was acceptable behavior because the team was a perennial powerhouse in the league. Now that they are a sub-.500 club, the jokes don’t seem as funny.
The Dodgers are a great landing spot for Wilson. They’re in first place, have had a ton of media attention on a handful of players (particularly Yasiel Puig), and have a legitimate need for another reliable arm in the bullpen. Can’t blame the Giants for passing on him, and you can’t blame the Dodgers for snapping him up.
Kyle Schwarber made a quicker-than-expected recovery from ACL surgery and then, after an Arizona Fall League rehab assignment, was shuttled up to Cleveland for the World Series. But that’s not all he has done.
Schwarber is now the latest ever Best Shape of His Life All-Star. Or so says Kris Bryant, talking to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com:
“We’ve seen first-hand the work that he’s putting in and how hard he’s been going . . . Honestly, I saw him out — maybe a couple weeks after his surgery — and he’s moving around, walking. And I’m like: ‘Dang, this guy’s not human. How? I saw your leg bend in half, and you’re walking around. This is unbelievable . . .(It’s) watching him dripping with sweat every single day. Every single day, this guy is drenched. I feel like he’s in the best shape of his life (now). There was no doubt in my mind that he could do it. It was just a matter of if they let him.”
May as well just forfeit now, Indians. No way you can deal with an October BSOHL guy.
When Mike Hazen left the Red Sox to go run the Diamondbacks, the Red Sox set out to look for a new general manager to replace him. Now, according to Pete Abraham, they may not replace him after all. Instead, president Dave Dombrowski may just leave the seat vacant and run the Sox all by himself.
Which, to be clear, is something Dombrowski is more than capable of doing, as he has been a general manager for decades now. A lot of this stuff is a function of job title-inflation, with guys in Dombrowski’s position being given elevated titles despite the fact that they are, more or less, still running the baseball operations department like they did when they were merely general managers. GM, meanwhile, has become a less authoritative position in many organizations, making it a somewhat less visible and perhaps less desirable job than it used to be.
Not that it’s totally about optics. The job of running a ball club is a lot more complicated than it used to be, and having one guy who can run big picture stuff and close deals like Dombrowski with another one being in charge of the more day-to-day tasks of the top baseball executive may be ideal. It also may help reign in some of the excesses of the top guy. Dombrowski, after all, may have been a master of a the big deal while running the Tigers, but in a lot of ways the win-now philosophy cost the club a lot of money and a lot of lower level talent. Another voice with a decent degree of power may be useful in that mix. As may a clear line of succession should Dombrowski decide to move on in a year or two.