Brian Wilson has started throwing again after missing nearly the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery, but his days with the Giants could be numbered.
Friday is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players and Wilson seems all but certain to be non-tendered by the Giants after being paid $8.5 million in 2012.
Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement the least Wilson could make in 2013 if offered arbitration by the Giants is $6.8 million–a 20 percent pay cut from $8.5 million–but according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle the Giants have no interest in guaranteeing him that much money.
According to Schulman the Giants would still like to sign Wilson for a lesser salary, but the two sides “are not exactly seeing eye to eye” in negotiations and if they can’t work something out by Friday he’ll become a free agent.
It makes little sense for the Giants to commit $6.8 million or more to Wilson considering he’s such a huge question mark at age 31. Even setting aside his uncertain health status few relief pitchers are worth that much of a commitment in the first place and the Royals just made a similar decision in declining their $8 million option on Joakim Soria after Tommy John surgery cost him the whole season.
Based on Schulman’s report it sounds like Wilson might turn down a lesser salary from the Giants based partly on hurt feelings, but the odds of him snagging even $5 million in guaranteed money for 2013 on the open market seem pretty long.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.