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.
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.