Brian Wilson

tommy john surgery

The Giants haven’t had many Tommy John cases. Why?


Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle spoke with Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti about the health of Giants pitchers. Specifically, why only one Giants pitcher in recent memory — Brian Wilson — has required Tommy John surgery while so many on other clubs have gone under the knife.

It’s an interesting question and both Jenkins and Righetti lead with luck as a good explanation. But Righetti speculates that the lack of many Giants pitchers who do serious weight training could be a factor, noting what weight training can do to guys whose arms have tendinitis or what have you. He also notes that the weight training may be a cultural thing:

“Back then, we didn’t have to worry about it. Walk into a team locker room, and there was no peer pressure about how you looked. You think guys like Luis Tiant, Rick Reuschel, Phil Niekro or Wilbur Wood cared about that? And they pitched forever. But guys would be all over ’em today, because there’s such a vanity element. They’ve gotta keep up with each other.

“It’s interesting, too: The Latin guys don’t come from a culture of weight training, and they don’t seem to get injured nearly as often. Not until they become more Americanized.”

Maybe there’s something there. Dr. James Andrews thinks it’s too many pitches when players are kids, but I’m sure, like with most things, there are multiple factors at play.

The only thing that bugs me a bit here is the citation back to guys who used to throw 300 innings all the time. You see it so often, but the hidden data problem is always ignored here. What is never mentioned are the tons of pitchers who flamed out in the minors or early in their careers because they simply couldn’t handle that kind of load and because Tommy John surgery was not available. Great, Luis Tiant and Mickey Lolich and some others pitched every four days for nine innings. But the guys who tried it and then couldn’t break 80 on the gun after their ligaments snapped are lost to history.

Still, a good article on a topic that is among the most critical in the game.

Dodgers release Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson Getty

The Dodgers have released reliever Brian Wilson, reports Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Wilson had been designated for assignment on Tuesday and is now a free agent. The Dodgers will be on the hook for his $9.5 million salary for the 2015 season.

Wilson, 32, suffered from ulnar nerve irritation in his right elbow at the start of this past season and went on to post mediocre numbers. The right-hander compiled a 4.66 ERA with a 54/29 K/BB ratio in 48 1/3 innings. He is nearly two years removed from Tommy John surgery. That, along with his age and declining performance, will give potential suitors pause when considering bringing him aboard.

Dodgers “talking to teams about” Brandon League

brandon league getty

The Dodgers dumped Brian Wilson on Tuesday afternoon, choosing to eat the remaining $9.5 million on his contract. And the new front office is not done unloading expensive mistakes from the old regime.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers are “talking to teams” about right-handed reliever Brandon League and are willing to pay “almost half” of the $7.5 million salary that he’s due in the final year of his three-year, $22.5 million deal.

League had a nice-looking 2.57 ERA in 63 innings this past season for Los Angeles, but that came alongside an ugly 1.46 WHIP and 38/27 K/BB ratio. He finished with a 5.30 ERA in 2013.

Maybe the Dodgers can convince a team to give up some talent for him.

Helping the cause is that it’s only going to cost around $4 million.

Dodgers cut Brian Wilson and his $9.5 million salary

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants

Brian Wilson is owed $9.5 million for 2015 thanks to a poor contract handed out by the Dodgers’ previous front office regime and the new guys just showed they don’t really care, designating the veteran reliever for assignment.

Wilson turned 14 good innings for the Dodgers in 2013 into a two-year, $20 million commitment and then struggled this past season, throwing 48 innings with a 4.66 ERA and 54/29 K/BB ratio amid various arm problems.

It’s highly unlikely that any team will claim Wilson and his contract off waivers, but presumably the Dodgers will simply release the 33-year-old former All-Star closer no matter what.

Brian Wilson exercises $10 million player option for 2015

Brian Wilson Getty

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Dodgers announced this afternoon that reliever Brian Wilson has officially exercised his $10 million player option for 2015.

Wilson stayed with the Dodgers last winter on a one-year, $10 million contract which included a player option for 2015 valued at between $8.5 million-$10 million based on appearances. While the 32-year-old right-hander managed to hit those particular benchmarks, he wasn’t all that effective in doing so, posting a 4.66 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 29 walks in 48 1/3 innings. The Dodgers’ bullpen looked like a potential strength on paper coming into this season, but Wilson is a big reason why things didn’t work out as planned. Given how fickle bullpens can be, there’s always the chance for a bounceback. That’s what the Dodgers will have to hope for, anyway.

According to Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A., the Dodgers have already committed $189.5 million to just 15 players for 2015.