Signing Brian Wilson Would Be a Mistake for the New York Mets

Chris EberhartContributor IIJanuary 13, 2013

DENVER, CO - APRIL 11:  Brian Wilson #38 of the San Francisco Giants pitches in relief against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on April 11, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Giants 17-8.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Brian Wilson to the New York Mets has been a hot rumor since USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported it via Twitter:


The New York #Mets are showing strong interest in former #SFGiants closer Brian Wilson. GM Sandy Alderson watched him Sat in private workout

— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 13, 2013


But Met fans should curb their enthusiasm for just a moment and turn their attention away from “The Beard’s” beard and look at his performance on the mound.

Wilson’s 163 saves in four years is more like fool’s gold than the mark of a dominating pitcher. In fact, he has only put together two good years as a closer, frequently struggling with his control.

He took over the Giants closer job in 2008 and recorded an impressive 41 saves. But he also blew seven saves and posted a 4.62 ERA and a 1.444 WHIP, walking 32 in 62.1 innings.

2009 was a good year. He recorded 38 saves and lowered his ERA (2.74) and WHIP (1.203). But he still finished the season with a losing record (5-6) and was second in the National League with seven blown saves.

Similar to 2008, Wilson’s high save total in 2011 was misleading. He posted a 3.11 ERA with a 1.473 WHIP because he walked 31 in 55 innings. He also blew six saves.

His numbers are not too far off from Francisco Rodriguez’s numbers while he was in a Mets uniform (3.02 ERA/1.289 WHIP/89 walks in 168 innings). And K-Rod gave Met fans headaches in the ninth inning with his sporadic control and tendency to put runners on.

With all that being said, Wilson is still better than any of the in-house closer candidates for the Mets. But that’s not saying much. Frank Francisco was 1-3 with a 5.53 ERA and 1.61 WHIP, and Bobby Parnell blew five out of 13 save opportunities.

So how much are Met fans willing to spend on a guy who is nothing more than a better option than a 5.53 ERA?

Alderson has only targeted low risk, high reward type of players this offseason in hopes they overachieve. His hopes Wilson, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, will be that type of signing.

But ESPN’s Adam Rubin reported there are at least six other teams interested in Wilson’s services, which will drive up his price. Rubin also said Wilson is unlikely to accept a minor league deal.

Joakim Soria, the former Kansas City Royal closer who is also coming back from Tommy John surgery, signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Texas Rangers. Soria has comparable or better career numbers than Wilson and is two years younger.

But getting Wilson to accept a $4 million per year deal is going to be difficult, considering the Mets are paying Francisco $6.5 million next year. Anything more than that means the Mets overpaid and are likely more infatuated with the personality of the “The Beard” than the actual pitcher.