SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Brian Wilson and his overgrown black beard might be headed out of the Bay Area.
The San Francisco Giants declined to tender a one-year contract to the closer by Friday night’s deadline, making him a free agent as he recovers from a second ligament-replacement surgery on his right elbow.
Wilson was the 2010 major league saves leader with 48, but made only two appearances for the World Series champions this year after experiencing elbow trouble in April. He underwent reconstructive Tommy John surgery April 19, his second such procedure on his pitching elbow after also having it done while in college at LSU in 2003. Dr. James Andrews performed both operations. Wilson missed the team’s run to its second championship in three years.
The 30-year-old Wilson, who earned $8.5 million during his injury-shortened 2012 season, would be due to make at least $6.8 million next year under the rule limiting pay cuts to a maximum of 20 percent. By letting him go free, the Giants can sign him for a lower price, though the pitcher has apparently already hinted he will look for work elsewhere.
Bobby Evans, the team’s vice president of baseball operations, said the Giants had declined to offer Wilson a contract — a move that was hardly unexpected given the uncertainty surrounding when the right-hander might be ready.
In addition, San Francisco saw during the club’s latest postseason run that Sergio Romo was a reliable ninth-inning option in Wilson’s place.
“I like our choices, including him being one, as we start the regular season,” general manager Brian Sabean said earlier Friday.
When asked whether Romo showed enough during his impressive playoff run to be the regular closer, Sabean said: “That’s tough to answer because of the off days.”
Wilson has spent all seven of his major league seasons with San Francisco after the Giants selected him in the 24th round of the 2003 draft. He got the final out in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series at Texas to clinch the franchise’s first championship since moving West in 1958.
Wilson finished 6-4 with a 3.11 ERA and 36 saves in 57 appearances in 2011, but was held out down the stretch as a precaution. He had taken all the important steps in his rehab during spring training this year, so the injury caught everybody by surprise.
The three-time All-Star complained of discomfort in the elbow April 13 and was sent for an MRI exam. Wilson threw 32 pitches at Colorado a day earlier while working on back-to-back days, and had to be checked on once. Athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said Wilson felt something in the elbow that day, then told the team a day later.
Messages left for Wilson and his agent went unreturned.
“It’s really a snail’s pace at this time,” Sabean said of Wilson’s rehab regimen. “Not a ton expected. He’s throwing 60 feet flat ground.”
Sabean said how the rest of the bullpen might shape up depends on whether the Giants are able to re-sign second baseman Marco Scutaro and center fielder Angel Pagan — of which he said, “We don’t have a deal, so that tells you we’re not close.”
“We have fallback positions,” Sabean said. “We’ve created some options if one or both doesn’t decide to sign with us.”
And Sabean didn’t seem convinced those negotiations would move fast, meaning the brass could return from next week’s winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., still in flux on those two free agents. Sabean has said they are two of his top priorities after left-hander Jeremy Affeldt received an $18 million, three-year contract Nov. 14.
That was a key first step to keeping the talented bullpen together.
“We may be prepared to go with the same group,” Sabean said of the relievers.
San Francisco’s front office has begun internal conversations about a new deal for NL MVP and batting champion Buster Posey that would get the club through his arbitration years or perhaps further.
“We’re open to that. He certainly deserves that consideration,” Sabean said. “I would think it would be later on.”
More Related Stories
- Burt Bacharach opens up on daughter's suicide
- Steven Spielberg to produce "Halo" television series
- Amazon set to launch fine-art gallery
- Twitter torches Dan Brown's "Inferno"
- Brad Pitt keeps breaking his silence on how boring marriage to Jennifer Aniston was
- Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac" to use porn star body doubles
- New Beyoncé single leaked
- The sweet, sure to be short-lived "The Goodwin Games"
- Damon Lindelof admits barely-clothed scene in "Star Trek" was "gratuitous"
- Justin Timberlake: I'm a mediocre folk singer!
- Ray Manzarek, founding member of The Doors, dies at 74
- Beware of book blurbs
- Did a Salon excerpt ruin Penn Jillette's chance to win "Celebrity Apprentice"?
- Zach Galifianakis to take formerly homeless woman to "Hangover 3" premiere
- Seth MacFarlane will not host Oscars again
- "SNL's" uncomfortable Garner/Affleck moment
- "Celebrity Apprentice" finale ratings hit a new low
- Worst National Anthem fails
- The truth in Kanye's anti-prison rap
- Stephen Colbert to UVA: "You must always make the path for yourself"
- "Game of Thrones," season 3, episode 8: A salon
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11