LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Saturday finalized their agreement with Brian Wilson, signing the relief pitcher to a one-year, $10 million contract with a player option for 2015 worth at least $8.5 million. As general manager Ned Colletti said on Saturday the move was one worth waiting for.
"We were going to have to be patient and let him go through the process, and let him figure out what he wanted to do," Colletti said via conference call on Saturday.
"We know what [Wilson] has done, he was great with us," Colletti said. "When I talked with [manager] Donnie [Mattingly], and [pitching coach] Rick [Honeycutt], and [bullpen coach] Chuck [Crim], and teammates and everybody around the organization, you get a unanimous 'absolutely' when you talk about bringing somebody back, that speaks pretty highly."
Wilson missed 16 months after his second Tommy John surgery, in April 2012, but signed with the Dodgers on July 30. After a few minor league appearances he joined the club in August, and was lights out down the stretch, allowing just one run in 18 appearances.
After showcasing his talents both during the regular season and the playoffs, with six more scoreless appearances, it was assumed that Wilson, who saved 163 games for San Francisco from 2008-2011, would want to be a closer somewhere. That meant a return to Los Angeles for Wilson, with Kenley Jansen's firm grasp on the position, seemed unlikely.
But that wasn't the case.
"I was never convinced that he would never come back here if he didn't close," Colletti said. "Not one time did he ever say that. I thought as long as everything else made sense, he would do it.
"When the season ended I talked to [Wilson] briefly and Dan Lozano. We've been straight up with each other all the way through. We'd love to have him back. Kenley Jansen's the closer, but you're going to need more than one guy to close games over the course of the season. If he wants to return in the same role, and be able to close games from time to time if something happens to Kenley, then we'd love to have him back."
Colletti talked to Lozano up to and during the general managers meetings, held Nov. 11-14 in Orlando, the same site as this year's winter meetings, which begin Monday. The two sides came together again last week, and the pact was forged.
As for the contract, Wilson gets $10 million in 2014, then a player option in 2015 between worth $8.5 million and $10 million based on performance in 2014. The best case scenario has Wilson re-establishing himself with a full season of work and either choosing to return to the Dodgers or hit the open market again, this time with a bolstered resume. In the worst case scenario Wilson, who has pitched fewer than 16 innings in the past two seasons combined, gets $18.5 million guaranteed over two years.
But that risk to the Dodgers was just part of the total package, something necessary to get the deal done.
"He wasn't coming here for a one-year deal," Colletti noted.