Lost in the shuffle of recent trades and potential signings for the outfield remains the status of the bullpen. The Phillies can’t be content with their current group, despite the depth of young talent.
Aside from Papelbon in the 9th, there is no certainty for Charlie looking out into the bullpen, which is bound to make for a long season. Adding a veteran to the group would help ease Charlie’s and the fan’s nerves immensely. My colleague Mr. Stolnis broke down the veteran relief market, but left out one intriguing name – Brian Wilson.
Phillies nation will forever remember Brian Wilson as the closer who broke their hearts in 2010 in the NLCS. Ryan Howard staring at strike three is a painful image I will never get out of my head, but time heels all wounds. Three years later Wilson is out in San Francisco and looking for a job. The two important questions are, would he play in Philadelphia? And would the Phillies take a flyer on a hard throwing reliever coming off tommy john surgery?
The Phillies and Wilson could be an excellent fit from the team’s standpoint. It’s unlikely that Wilson will get a multi-year deal coming off his injury, so there would be little to no risk on their investment. If Wilson can regain his form, they would have a fire baller to role out in the 8th inning behind Paps. Low-risk high reward.
Whether or not Wilson would come to Philly is less certain. He has always been a closer, and it remains to be seen if he would accept any other role. The Giants have certainly moved on, but there are other teams in need of a closer who would certainly take a chance on Wilson. If he wants to win, and play in a big market, the Phillies are great option. But, if he is adamant about pitching in the 9th, it’s over before it even starts.
In a perfect world, Wilson would sign up for a 1 year deal worth $3-4 million with incentives built in (appearances, innings pitched, etc.). The Phillies would have their set-up man, but would fans be able to forgive the bearded wonder for breaking their hearts? We fans are a spiteful group, which would make it difficult to get behind Wilson and his antics on the mound. Then again, if the Yankees nation can welcome in long time Red Sox heroes like Clemens and Damon, why shouldn’t Phillies nation welcome a once hated closer. With Wilson pitching out of the pen it wouldn’t be long before beard-mania makes its way into the stands of CBP.