Sep 22, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Brian Wilson (00) in the eighth inning of the game against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Once upon a time, “The Beard” become the face of the San Francisco Giants. Whether appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, making a hilarious ESPN SportsCenter commercial, or wearing a spandex tuxedo to the 2011 ESPYs, Brian Wilson was an icon for, not just San Francisco, but all of Major League Baseball.
According to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, Wilson is resuming baseball activities in the attempt to make a comeback in 2016.
Wilson will be 34-years-old when the 2016 season begins, and he still has some life to that fastball of his. Although the results were not all that promising, just last year in 2014 Wilson posted a 93.1 mph average fastball velocity, his highest since 2011 when he ranked 10th in the MLB in saves.
According to FanGraphs
As mentioned before, his numbers were not all that impressive as he totaled a 4.66 ERA in 48 1/3 innings pitched. With that being said, Wilson has had to battle through two Tommy John surgeries, but his average velocity has increased each year since 2012. His career 24-25 record, 3.30 ERA, and 172 saves indicates to me that he has the stuff to get the job done, but he simply needs to find the right role. With Jeremy Affeldt retiring and possibly losing relievers George Kontos, Santiago Casilla, Yusmeiro Petit, and Ryan Vogelsong to free agency, San Francisco will in fact be looking to rebuild their bullpen.
Since his departure after the 2012 season, the relationship between the Giants front-office and Wilson has been shady to say the least. Immediately after the last out of a game against Wilson’s Los Angeles Dodgers on September 27, 2013, Wilson ran over to the Giants CEO Larry Baer to confront him over the fact that he had not received his 2012 World Series ring.
In an article by Steve Delvecchio of Larry Brown Sports, this was the response from the Giants front-office:
“It’s disappointing. It’s unfortunate. It’s bizarre, really,” club vice president Slaughter said. “This organization really has tried to do the right thing and I don’t know where this is coming from. It wasn’t for a lack of effort on our part. Larry, Bobby, Bochy — everybody has made an effort to reach out to him.”
The continuous antics and personality, if you will, of the flamboyant Wilson is highly advertised, but Giants seemed to love every second of it almost as much as Wilson loved San Francisco.
And why not bring back Wilson? The fans loved him in his time with the Giants and Wilson will always be remembered as the recorder of the last out of the first World Series championship in San Francisco Giants history. Wilson will not have a high asking price as he has already made enough between his last two contracts with San Francisco and Los Angeles, and he is not in position to be acting picky with money.
If the San Francisco front-office and Wilson can find a way to forget about their past mishaps and tension, Wilson is just desperate enough for a job and San Francisco is just desperate enough for bullpen arms that we could be seeing a return of “The Beard” at AT&T Park.