This has been assumed in recent days, especially with the club reportedly deep in talks with free agent reliever Brandon Lyon, but in comments to Anthony Sulla-Heffinger of the New York Post earlier today, Giants general manager Brian Sabean all but ruled out Brian Wilson’s return to the club.
“I’m going to be brutally honest as I always am, I don’t [think Wilson will return],” Sabean said during an event in Midtown on Saturday. “In this case, where you are getting a second Tommy John…it’s the type of rehab where he’s still not further up along to judge exactly where he may be able to come back in major league fashion, let alone as a closer.”
Wilson had the second Tommy John surgery of his career last April and was non-tendered by the Giants following the season. Sabean is still open to bringing him back on a one-year, incentive-laden contract, but he expects that the bearded reliever will be “more in the mindset to do that with somebody else, than coming back with us.”
Wilson had a private workout with the Mets last weekend, but the club reportedly came away unimpressed. Still, they haven’t closed the door on offering him a major league deal.
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.