Is Brian Wilson A Good Fit For the Mets?

Jamie Squire

Former Giants closer Brian Wilson underwent Tommy John surgery last year, and he's still a free agent today.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson watched former Giants closer Brian Wilson throw at UCLA over the weekend, according to Marc Carig of Newsday. While Wilson's personality shtick grew tiresome over the last couple of years, he was excellent out of the Giants' bullpen between 2009 and 2011.

Wilson underwent Tommy John surgery last April, and he hit the free-agent market this winter when San Francisco chose to non-tender him at the end of November. If there's a type of pitcher that Sandy Alderson has targeted for bargain deals in his time with the Mets, it's been those coming off Tommy John Surgery. Chris Capuano and Taylor Buchholz, for example, underwent the surgery right before the Mets signed them to short-term, low-risk deals.

Over the course of his career, which began in 2006, Wilson's put together a 3.21 ERA and 3.08 FIP with with 9.6 strikeouts and 4.0 walks per nine innings. With an average fastball velocity in the mid-90s, Wilson has relied on strikeouts to compensate for his undesirable walk rate. He's also been particularly adept at limiting home runs, allowing just 0.48 per nine over his career. AT&T Park limits home runs, but he's given up home runs at a lower clip on the road than at home.

Aside from Wilson's recent surgery, there's some cause for concern with his 2011 stats. His 8.8 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 weren't very good compared to his career norms, and his average fastball was down about one mile per hour from 2010.

Still, Wilson makes a ton of sense for the Mets if he's willing to sign a short-term, incentive-laden deal. Pitchers typically recover from Tommy John surgery quite well these days, and the Mets' bullpen is second only to the team's outfield in lack of depth. If Wilson were to sign just a one-year deal, the Mets could, at worst, flip him to a team in need of bullpen help at the deadline. But a deal including a reasonable team option for 2014 would be ideal, as the Mets figure to be closer to contending by then and very well may still need the bullpen help.

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