The Washington Nationals are moving through the offseason quietly, but they still have a few needs to address. One is the replacement for lefty reliever Sean Burnett if he signs elsewhere, so the Nats are looking for at least one member of their bullpen.
But what if the Nationals choose to be more aggressive and look for insurance at closer? If that is the Nats’ intention, the market for closers and relief pitchers may be starting to dry up. Jonathan Broxton and Ryan Madson have already found deals and even Jeremy Affeldt, who looked like a good substitute for Burnett, was signed.
Still remaining among this year’s best free agents are Mike Adams and Joakim Soria, plus Burnett if the Nats are still interested. But one more possibility has presented itself in recent days. What about Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants?
Wilson is expected to be non-tendered by the Giants later this week after making $8.5 million in 2012. The black-bearded closer pitched in just two games this past season after undergoing Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career. He is 30 years old with two elbow scars, but the potential gain could be worth a one-year deal.
Before 2012, Wilson had averaged 41 saves between 2008 and 2011. He was a huge part of the 2010 World Series team with a career-high 48 regular season saves and six in the postseason. Wilson, in fact, has never allowed an earned run in the playoffs across ten appearances.
For Wilson, it’s all about the elbow as the experience and composure would not be a problem. Entering free agency coming off his second Tommy John surgery, the asking price can’t be very high.
The Nationals signed Brad Lidge in January to fill a similar role last season, ‘closer B’ if you will. He was brought in for one year, $1 million plus incentives.
Lidge was 35 and coming off of a season of just 25 games because of shoulder problems. The situations are different in some ways, but also similar in that both were former World Series heroes looking to move on to new chapters of their careers. If the price is right, should the Nationals take a look?