It's not yet official, but it's no surprise. Dodgers relief pitcher Brian Wilson has reportedly informed the Dodgers he will exercise his player option for 2015, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.
Wilson parlayed 19⅔ great innings in 2013 after recovering from his second Tommy John surgery into a $10 million contract to set up for the Dodgers in 2014, plus the player option for 2015 ranging from between $8.5 million and $10 million depending on appearances. Cotillo reports the option will be worth $9.5 million.
Wilson, 32, was 2-4 with a 4.66 ERA and one save in 61 games in 2014, with 54 strikeouts and 29 walks in 48⅓ innings.
The Dodgers bullpen was its biggest weakness all season, and Wilson's decline was a big reason why. He went from a defined eighth-inning setup role to more of a matchup reliever down the stretch, with 10 of his final 15 regular season appearances less than one inning.
"I don't think the traditional way of looking at your bullpen of saying I'd love to have a guy for the seventh, and basically what you see with Kansas City. The seventh comes, this guy gets the ball, the 8th comes, this guy gets the ball, the ninth comes, this guy gets the ball," manager Don Mattingly said on Sunday. "We were a little bit like that last year toward the end. We just haven't had that luxury this year."
In his one appearance in the NLDS, Wilson pitched ⅓ inning in Monday's Game 3 loss. He retired one of his three batters faced.
Wilson averaged 93.59 mph on his four-seam fastball in 2014, per Brooks Baseball, down only slightly from his 94.07 mph average in 2013. But he declined as the season went on, averaging 91.18 mph in August and 89.75 in September.
After allowing a game-winning two-run home run at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Sept. 20, Wilson after the game downplayed his declining velocity, saying he was saving 95-96 mph for the playoffs. In his appearance on Monday, Wilson threw nine pitches and four were an intentional walk. Of his other five pitches, he threw a curveball and four pitchers classified by Gameday as sliders and by Brooks Baseball as sliders.
The speed of any of those pitches did not begin with a nine.
Wilson's is one of three 2015 options for the Dodgers. Dan Haren has a $10 million player option, and Chad Billingsley, who hasn't pitched since April 2013 and is coming off both Tommy John surgery and a procedure to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow, has a $14 million club option, with a $3 million buyout.
Once Wilson exercises his option, the Dodgers will have $179 million committed to 14 players in 2015, not counting Haren nor Billingsley's buyout.