Loyalty – it’s not something you often find in sports these days and the Giant faithful are currently going through those motions thanks in part to the Brian Wilson negotiations. With only a few hours left for the Giants to offer Wilson arbitration, it appears that the Beard will be hitting the open market Saturday morning, much to the distaste of all involved.
October 31, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Brian Wilson waves to the crowd while riding in a cable car during the World Series victory parade at Market Street. The Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers in a four-game sweep to win the 2012 World Series. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
I don’t personally think the Giants want to let Wilson go nor do I think Wilson wants to go, but with both parties butting heads it appears to be a very real reality – a reality where both sides are testing each others loyalty.
Financially, it makes no sense for the Giants to pay Wilson the arbitrational money he’ll command as you simply can’t invest that sum of money into an injured player, who’s effectiveness is unknown. It’s not a slight to Weezy in any sense, just reality. But as Wilson has pointed out in the negotiations, it was he who was pitching injured during the Giants’ 2010 World Series Championship run, wearing down his elbow into its current condition. No, unlike say a Robb Nen, who did the same for the Giants, we didn’t see Wilson’s arm fall apart at the strings. It was a slow process that took time to wear down that eventually resulted in him missing essentially the entire 2012 campaign. Wilson wants compensation for that and honestly, who can blame him. He put his health on the line for his team and his fellow players. He didn’t cry about it. He didn’t whine. He didn’t go on the DL when the Giants needed him the most. He sucked it up and got the job done and he feels he deserves to be paid not only for that, but for what he has done and what he still feels he can do.
For the Giants though, already financially stressed, throwing away $7 million or $8 million dollars isn’t a luxury they can afford, assuming Wilson isn’t the same Wilson as we’ve all come to love on the diamond – despite the Rod Beck like stress on the mound. They certainly understand Wilson’s demands and wants, but they too have to protect themselves in this muddy situation, so their best bet is to given Wilson a financially fair contract – assuming he meets particular incentives.
Unfortunately, for most players, that’s a slap in the face and an offer they don’t take too kindly, which is exactly what has happened so far with Wilson.
Both sides are more than right in what they’re asking, so it’s not as if one party is being unfair to the other. Wilson has every right to ask for what he’s asking and do so for the reasons he’s stating. And on that same token, so do the Giants, who are as much of a business as a baseball team.
Wilson knows he’s extremely valuable to the Giants in a vast amount of ways, not only in terms of on-field play but on the marketing side of things as no player in orange and black provides more outside revenue to the Giants than Weezy, a fact Wilson most certainly factored into his reasoning.
Yet, both parties appear hesitant to budge. The Giants, although it would only most likely be for one year, don’t want to get stuck in another Aubrey Huff situation where a once talented product is now riding the pine, eating into a major part of your annual payroll. The same goes for Wilson, who has no assurances with the health of his arm.
In most contracts, you’re paid for what not only you’ve done – but what you’re expected to do. And in most cases, what you’re expected to do isn’t always what you did in the past which is why so many teams are constantly burdened with bad contracts.
So unless something changes in the next few hours, it appears Brian Wilson will enter free agency – not ruling out a return to San Francisco, but a closer on the open market (even one with health concerns) isn’t going to last long.
I for one, hope that both parties will be able to find a mutual ground, but as of right now – that seems questionable at best.