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SAN FRANCISCO – Brian Wilson probably won’t be the closer for the Los Angeles Dodgers next season.
But he’ll make a closer’s salary.
These are the Guggenheim-bankrolled Los Angeles Dodgers, after all. And they had every reason to add zeroes to retain Wilson after he went 2-1 with a 0.66 ERA in 18 games following his debut in August. Wilson also tossed six shutout innings in the Dodgers’ two postseason series.
Wilson receives a $10 million salary next season, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports. He also holds a player option for 2015 that would be worth between $9 and $10 million, depending on how many appearances he makes this coming season.
It’s the biggest salary Wilson has received in his career, and you’ve got to hand it to him. He exercised patience while returning from a second Tommy John surgery, ensuring he would be back as close as possible to top form before he began to showcase himself. He was able to parlay five solid weeks into a nice pile of cash. And because he can hit the open market again next season, he can position himself for an even bigger deal.
In the meantime, he’ll pitch within a few miles of his Southern California home – and you can bet he’ll relish those times he gets to tangle with the Giants. Between those factors and the large guarantee, it had to be an easy decision to accept a subordinate role to Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.
If Jansen struggles, Wilson certainly has the experience to take over the role.
Wilson had been in discussions with the Detroit Tigers, who decided to sign right-hander Joe Nathan on a two-year deal. Other teams looking for closers were in smaller markets or not willing to spend big.
Wilson hasn’t allowed an earned run in 17.2 career postseason innings – and as Giants fans are keenly aware, he threw the final pitch to clinch San Francisco’s first World Series title in 2010.
Wilson underwent Tommy John surgery in April, 2012, and was limited to just two games when the Giants repeated that season. Aware that he would make at least $6.5 million through arbitration, the club did not tender him a contract for 2013 – an act that did not sit well with the three-time All-Star.
The last Giants fans saw of Wilson, he was walking across the field at AT&T Park and shouting at club CEO Larry Baer in a dispute over his 2012 World Series ring. The bizarre scene played out Sept. 26 as the Giants were in a handshake victory line.
Now Wilson will get a chance to send many more messages to the Giants and their fans.