On Sunday, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM that pitching coach Dan Warthen would be watching Brian Wilson pitch within the next few days.
The Mets already watched Wilson throw earlier this month, but did not deem the former Giants closer worthy of a major league contract just yet. That could change as it becomes increasingly apparent that Alderson will not be spending any big money on improving the outfield this winter.
Even if Michael Bourn could be had for less than we initially thought (around $15 million per season), an investment would be pointless if it would cost the Mets the 11th overall pick in this June’s draft. While the former Braves outfielder might be able to lift a fringe contender to a wild card birth if he emulates last season’s career-best performance, Bourn simply does not have the ability to change the fortunes of a team like the Mets. A first-round draft pick does have the potential to do that, however.
With no big free agent move iminent, the Mets can afford to throw a little bit of money Wilson’s way in the hopes that he once again becomes a quality closer. Tommy John surgery wiped out practically his entire 2012 season, and Wilson walked 5.07 batters per nine innings back in 2011.
Before that, in 2009 and 2010, Wilson pitched over 140 innings with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of over 3:1 and picked up a World Series title with San Francisco. At age 30, Wilson, like Bourn, is unlikely to play like he did in his prime again, but only one of those players will come with little risk attached. If Warthen likes what he sees this time around, there’s little reason not to sign Wilson.
Plus, like Matt said, the team is lacking of some iconic facial hair.