Fans got an early holiday surprise on Thursday as the Dodgers announced a one-year, $10 million deal with relief pitcher Brian Wilson. In terms of holiday gifts Brian Wilson is like the "White Elephant" gift that everyone at the party keeps stealing and fighting over--trust me, that is a good thing.
The oddball relief pitcher returns on a one-year deal with a player option for the 2014 season. After coming back from Tommy John surgery in the latter half of the 2014 season, Wilson put up superb numbers out of the Dodger bullpen.
In 13.2 innings he gave up one earned run with 13 strikeouts and just four walks. In the postseason he was even better with just four hits and two walks in six appearances. He still has not allowed an earned run in his 17.2 innings pitched.
His 2013 run with the Dodgers was kind of a trial to see if he was ready to face MLB hitters following the surgery. He passed with flying colors, and his reward is a contract worth at least $10 million in 2013, and an player-option for 2014.
Many expected Wilson to sign elsewhere this off-season where he could become a full-time closer, whereas in Los Angeles he will be the set-up man to Kenley Jansen. There is always the chance that Jansen falters and Wilson will be available to take over the closer role, but it has been reported that he is more than comfortable maintaing the set-up role that he claimed in 2013.
Regardless of the order they appear in, Wilson-Jansen will make for a nasty combo at the end of any game.
Of course, many Dodger fans are just excited that "The Beard" will be back for an encore. His off-the-wall antics, and distinct appearance has become his "claim to fame," driving fans wild at the stadium.
This is just the second free-agent move that the Dodgers have made this off-season, but with the way the "Hot Stove" has been playing out the past week, other deals appear to be on the horizon.