Brian Wilson’s tenure in San Francisco is all but over, leaving the door open for the Mets.
Giants senior vice president and general manager Brian Sabean all but confirmed that the closer would not be returning the team in 2013.
“I’m going to be brutally honest as I always am, I don’t [think Wilson will return],” Sabean said during an event in Midtown on Saturday. “In this case, where you are getting a second Tommy John…it’s the type of rehab where he’s still not further up along to judge exactly where he may be able to come back in major league fashion, let alone as a closer.”
Wilson appeared in just two games last season before undergoing Tommy John surgery. The 30-year-old closer made $8.2 million last season and the Giants non-tendered him in November, making him a free agent. The team would have had to guarantee Wilson $6.8 million in 2013 if it would have offered him a tender.
Sabean did leave slight hope that Wilson could return on a one-year, incentive laden contract.
“We spoke to [Wilson’s] agent repeatedly before we made the initial decision not to tender him a contract, to speak about, which in this case is very normal, starting with a low base and then from there building with incentives,” Sabean said.
Wilson has saved 171 games over seven seasons with the Giants, including a league-high 48 saves in 2010, when the team also won the World Series.
“It’s one of those things where it’s very difficult trying to change somebody’s mind, being [Wilson’s], in that the organization owes him, and we do owe him a debt of gratitude, but this is a tough business and we certainly have to be financially responsible,” Sabean said.
Several teams around league have expressed interest in the three-time All-Star, including the Mets. While most teams, including the Giants, would not likely be willing to offer Wilson a large guaranteed deal, he could sign on either a minor league deal or as mentioned earlier, an incentive-laden contract.
“We may be in a position to offer him a low base with some incentives, but at this time I see him more in the mindset to do that with somebody else, than coming back with us,” Sabean said.
Wilson wasn’t the only topic of discussion, and Sabean received a vote of confidence from the team.
Team president and CEO Larry Baer, who appeared alongside Sabean and Hall of Famer Willie Mays at the Westin Hotel where the New York Giants Historical Society and New York Giants Nostalgia Society were on hand, addressed the spending of the team’s NL West rivals, the Dodgers.
“I think that at the end, the dollars factor in some, but the beauty of our game and most games is that it comes down to judgment,” Baer said. “[Sabean] and his staff and [manager Bruce Bochy] and his coaching staff, we’ll put the money against their judgments any day of the week.
“We’ve put together a plan that is getting us into postseason and focusing on us having a championship caliber team,” Baer said.