Yesterday, as Jeremy Affeldt was inducing groundballs in a nice bounce-back outing after giving up the three-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt two nights earlier, Mike Krukow heard from a former Giant.
“Just got a text message from Brian Wilson, who’s watching the game. He said that Jeremy Affeldt’s ‘scud meter’ is at 4,364. Now that’s from his count.”
(Krukow and Kuiper both chuckle a bit.)
“Great to see Willie’s watching,” Krukow said.
“I have a feeling Buster Posey might think that that number’s a little low,” said Kuiper.
“Happy to report that Brian Wilson is progressing nicely rehabbing his arm. And hopefully someday we’ll see him in a Giants uniform again,” Krukow said.
That sentiment is likely shared by a large number of San Francisco Giants fans and players. However, even though the Giants certainly aren’t against bringing back old pitchers (a few examples: Ryan Vogelsong, Boof Bonser, Jesse Foppert and Ramon Ramirez), the front office and coaching staff probably have mixed feelings on the prospect of a return from Wilson, and a lot would have to happen for a reunion to take place.
– Wilson would have to show that he can throw his fastball at least 90 mph, because unlike the Giants’ current closer, Sergio Romo, Wilson doesn’t have a frisbee slider or excellent command.
– He and the Giants would need to come to some sort of compromise. Wilson isn’t looking for the veteran’s minimum, but he also can’t expect an offer anywhere close to a prorated version of his most recent salary ($8.5 million in 2012).
– The Giants would have to decide whether or not they’re willing to tolerate the distractions that would arise from bringing Wilson back. The Giants don’t need a closer, so would it be worth it to deal with the increased media presence and their repetitive questions, along with Wilson’s LOOK-AT-ME-LOOK-AT-ME-LOOK-AT-ME act in the dugout and/or bullpen?
Let’s assume Krukow’s right and Wilson’s rehab is “progressing nicely.” And let’s assume “nicely” means he’d be at least as good as he was in 2011, when he was a serviceable reliever (3.11 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 8.8 K/9) but a few notches below the dominant closer we saw in 2009-10. Do the fans want him back?
Based on my Twitter timeline, the answer would probably be no. Most of the hardcore Giants fans I interact with were tired of Wilson by the middle of 2011 and celebrated when the Giants cut ties. Compared to Romo, who’s more of a Mission/Haight type if we’re judging these guys by San Francisco neighborhoods, Wilson is a true Marina guy — a cocky flexer with a closet full of sleeveless shirts and trucker hats.
The Giants were a true Marina team in 2010. Everyone ate it up because the Giants hadn’t won a World Series in San Francisco before those guys came along, but tales of guys like Pat Burrell, Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross and Brian Wilson carousing in the area in and around Chestnut Street were bandied about around here with winks and chuckles. But the team changed after Wilson struggled in 2011 and finally succumbed to a faulty elbow ligament at the beginning of the 2012 season. Santiago Casilla pitched well in Wilson’s old spot, then gave up his chair to Romo, who has been successful in 34 of his 37 save chances since taking over.
And even though opposing fans across the nation called Wilson a douche and even some Giants fans believe he’s annoying, there are a lot of people who love the guy. My mother-in-law has always been fascinated with him, and still asks me if I’ve heard anything about his baseball future every time I see her. And if the Giants did in fact re-sign him, the reaction at AT&T Park the first time “Jump Around” played and he ran in from the bullpen would be nothing short of bedlam.*
*Followed by 40,000 nervous people groaning and shifting in their seats after he walks the bases loaded.
OKAY, ENOUGH STALLING
Do you want Wilson to come back or not? Krukow definitely does, and I’m we got a vote in the “yay” category last night in the comments. Let me know what you think, and one of the comments will be randomly chosen to win a FREE large pizza (any toppings) from Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria!