Brian Wilson made a fairly miraculous recovery from a second Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow this year to be a valuable member of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ bullpen. He was so good that the Detroit Tigers are reportedly interested in bringing him aboard as the team’s closer for next season.
Wilson threw 13.2 innings down the stretch for the Dodgers in 2013, posting an ERA of 0.66, with a WHIP of 0.88. Wilson allowed just eight hits and one run in 18 appearances, with four walks and 13 strikeouts. He also posted a record of 2-1. His fastball averaged 95 mph in October, while his cutter sat at 91. Those speeds are in line with his prime years in San Francisco.
The Tigers certainly won’t be Wilson’s only suitor and the Colorado Rockies have already let their interest be known. The 31-year-old was one of baseball’s best closers before winding up on the shelf early in the 2012 season. He eventually underwent Tommy John surgery.
Wilson’s crazy behavior and signature ridiculous beard often distract from the fact that, when he’s healthy, he can be a dominant reliever. The three-time All-Star has a career record of 22-21, with an ERA of 3.10 and 171 career saves. The 2013 season was his eighth in the big leagues.
There is no doubt that Wilson will get a chance to close next season. The Tigers have reportedly narrowed things down to Joe Nathan and Wilson. It will be interested to see how this plays out.
New Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has a great roster on his hands, but the relief corps failed the team in several key situations in 2013. The weakness in the back of the bullpen was apparent during the playoffs against the Boston Red Sox.
Who the Tigers add to the bullpen this offseason will be incredibly important for their playoff aspirations next season.