SAN FRANCISCO – Although neither the Giants nor Brian Wilson have closed the door on a return for the three-time All-Star closer, the two sides remain in hot disagreement – and money isn’t the current issue.
Wilson’s agent responded immediately and forcefully to a comment that Brian Sabean made during a media session on the eve of FanFest Friday, in which the Giants’ longtime GM said, “Their camp holds hope he can get a contract with more guaranteed money, and we’re looking for more of an incentive-type deal.”
Dan Lozano of MVP Sports Group called Sabean’s statement inaccurate because, under direct order from Wilson, there have been no discussions about contract terms with the Giants or any other club.
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“(Wilson) has instructed us not to talk terms or money until he’s 100 percent,” Lozano said. “We haven’t talked terms or money with the Giants or any other team. So I’m a little baffled by Brian Sabean’s comment that we’re out there looking for more money.”
Informed of Lozano’s reaction, Sabean said he stood by his comment.
“The organization’s stance, and what our intent has been all along, is an incentive-based contract, and we haven’t gotten past square one,” Sabean said. “That’s what I was being blunt about. If you don’t want that, don’t you want more guaranteed money? Isn’t that what you would deduce?”
Wilson had a second Tommy John surgery in April of last year to reconstruct his right elbow ligament. He is throwing off a mound three times a week and is close to 90 percent, Lozano said. The expectation remains that he will be ready by opening day; he held a workout at UCLA for Sandy Alderson last month, which reportedly left the Mets GM unimpressed -- no surprise, since the right-hander is still in rehab mode.
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Lozano said four or five clubs have shown interest in making an offer but Wilson is not ready to listen yet. Lozano also declined to comment when asked if there’s still a chance Wilson could return to the Giants. Sabean said on Friday he did not anticipate offering any more guaranteed contracts to unsigned players as the club prepares for pitchers and catchers to report on Tuesday.
For what it's worth, the Giants' media notes list Wilson's name among those "gone from 2012."
Wilson became a free agent when the Giants declined to offer him a contract in December, fully aware that he would receive a salary award of no less than $6.8 million through his final year of arbitration.
Giants vice president Bobby Evans has handled most communication with Wilson’s camp, with CEO Larry Baer also fielding a few calls. Evans agreed with Lozano’s point that the two sides have not thrown around figures at any stage.
Evans described the current disagreement as one of semantics.
“It’s splitting hairs,” Evans said.
An apt description for the most famously bearded player in baseball.