All indications are that Brian Wilson will undergo Tommy John surgery — he certainly seemed resigned to the possibility yesterday — but there’s no guarantee that’s what will be advised this week.
Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that Wilson was diagnosed with a “moderate” sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow. He does not have a full tear and there are pitchers who opt to rehab the injury rather than have surgery.
Wilson traveled to Southern California today to get an opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum and he’ll visit Dr. James Andrews in Florida on Wednesday. We should know something definitive by the end of the week.
Assuming Wilson ultimately opts for surgery, he will miss the rest of the season and perhaps the early part of next season. The Giants could have a tough decision ahead of them under this scenario, as he is arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter. As Baggarly noted yesterday, the Giants could offer him a 20 percent (maximum) pay cut, meaning a $6.4 million salary for 2013, or they could non-tender him and potentially bring him back at a lower salary. Of course, non-tendering him would give him the option of testing the open market.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.