Former All-Star Wilson signs with Dodgers
GM Colletti expects 'The Beard' to join LA bullpen in two to three weeks
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers signed free-agent reliever Brian Wilson Tuesday to a Major League contract for the rest of this season, adding to their collection of former All-Star closers.
According to manager Don Mattingly, Wilson will report to the team's Minor League complex in Arizona and pitch in several rehab games before being promoted to the Major League bullpen. General manager Ned Colletti said it should take Wilson "two to three weeks" to be ready to join the Dodgers.
Wilson, a former Dodgers nemesis who closed out the 2010 World Series for the Giants, has missed most of the last two seasons recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. In 2010, he had 48 saves and a 1.81 ERA. Wilson was non-tendered by the Giants after last season, when he earned $8.5 million.
"We all know what he's capable of. Through his career and from '08-'11, maybe more saves than [Mariano] Rivera, who's a Hall of Famer times 10," said Colletti. "If he gets back closer to that, it'll be tremendous. We know he's a competitor and the success he's had. It's a matter of health and being sharp."
The Dodgers watched Wilson throw off a mound twice last week, with a fastball ranging from 90-93 mph, and were convinced he was a more attractive and lower-risk alternative to trading prospects for veteran depth in a thin and slow reliever market.
"He got loose easy, threw the ball where he wanted. It came out clean," said Mattingly. "They were happy with his location, throwing the ball where he wanted to. They were happy. They talked about the velocities, and it was good."
Wilson, 31, is another in a long line of former Giants acquired by Colletti, himself a former Giants exec, who said he met with Wilson after the Sunday workout and was assured he could handle a lesser role than closer.
"He's watched our club and he knows the team inside and out," Colletti said. "He said he just wants to help any way he can, whatever you need. He said he wants nothing given to him, he'll earn what he gets."
The right-handed Wilson could join former All-Star closers Brandon League and Carlos Marmol, along with Ronald Belisario, to support current closer Kenley Jansen, who has been dominant since replacing League in May.
Mattingly spoke to Jansen Tuesday to assure him that Wilson is not viewed as a replacement closer.
"He's one of the guys getting us the ball to Kenley," Mattingly said. "When we come to the ballpark, how are we going to get the ball to Kenley? We can use him with the combination of guys who have been throwing the ball good for us. He gives us another guy that gives us a better chance to get back in it and match up and put him in good spots to get outs."
Colletti said he wouldn't rule out an acquisition by Wednesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, or a waiver deal in August like the ones that brought the Dodgers Marlon Anderson and Ronnie Belliard. But he said he'd "be fine with it" if the current club is the one that finishes the season.
"How we played the last 35 games is a testament to a lot of people still here and they've all played hard," Colletti said. "We get Matt [Kemp] and [Jose] Dominguez back and if nothing else happens, we've shored up the starting pitching with Ricky Nolasco and added relievers with experience."
Colletti said other teams ask for the same five prospects no matter which player he's seeking, and Colletti conceded that he's more protective of them than he was a year ago, when the Dodgers dealt multiple prospects to reload with Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, etc. Presumably, the young Dodgers on other clubs' radar include Zach Lee, Joc Pederson, Ross Stripling and 16-year-old Julio Urias.