Over on CSN Bay Area, Mychael Urban has a five-point column of quick hits, with this being the first one:
1) Should the Giants trade Brian Wilson for a bat?
It's not even a bad rumor at this point, but the notion has been floated, and this is a good place to start the conversation. The corresponding move suggested most often is signing Heath Bell to close.
It's a notion that has been floated, and often. Teams like to trade from strengths to address weaknesses, and the Giants have a lot of pitching. But when you rank the pitchers from most valuable to Zito, you realize that the names at the top will not be traded under any circumstances. Cain, Lincecum, and Bumgarner aren't going anywhere. So any decent rosterbation has to start with the pitchers that come next on the list.
Wilson is a name-brand closer. That's the kind of pitcher who might seem more valuable to another GM than he really is. The Giants won the World Series in 2010 with a lot of help from Wilson, which gave him a little exposure. A fair amount of exposure. A whole bunch of exposure. The kind of exposure that might make a Dodgers fan jump down from the stands and go Monica Seles on him with an overflowing XXL chalupa instead of a knife. Some exposure.
But here's where the discussion ends. Wilson is:
a. going to make $8.5 million next year, and ...
b. coming off a sub-par year that ended with him fighting off elbow gnarliness
His trade value, if I had to guess, is somewhere between "player to be named later" and "halfway-decent prospect with the Giants eating some money." I guess the original question is if he can be traded for a bat, and that's possible. A nice ash and maple beauty, maybe signed by Gorman Thomas or something. That'd be possible
There is no way -- absolutely none -- that the Giants could get a starting position player, though, who would be much better than the in-house or free-agent alternatives. They aren't trading Wilson for Asdrubal Cabrera or Ben Zobrist. They aren't getting Peter Bourjos or Dexter Fowler. The Marlins would hang up if Sabean asked for Emilio Bonifacio.
This doesn't even take into account his added value with the Giants. He's a marketing bonanza for the team, a player with a recognizable face whose value can't just be added up through his on-field contributions. He's more valuable to the Giants than any other team.
And it's not like the following is a secret to other teams:
Sign on the dotted line, other teams. He's fine. No, no. That DL trip didn't mean anything. The walk rate? A fluke. The disappearing strikeout rate? An anomaly. The declining fastball? He's learning to harness his stuff. You don't need that Joey Votto anyways, hyuk hyuk.
Unless the Giants need the $8.5 million to sign another hitter, and another team will absorb the contract for a PTBNL, Wilson isn't going anywhere. There isn't a GM crazy enough to take that kind of risk.
Well, wait. Maybe. I mean ... no, it would be irresponsible to even speculate. But what if ...
Sergio Santos had a good year as a closer for the White Sox, but Kenny Williams can make the occasional roster move of insanity. And, boy, that Alexei Ramirez is just a .269 hitter. That wouldn't be much of a return for an All-Star, Kenny, but we just need a shortstop awful bad.
Whoa. Sorry. Just slipped down a rosterbation rabbit hole. Better now. Point is, Brian Wilson isn't going anywhere. And if he's healthy, THIS BULLPEN WILL BE STACKED. There are worse fates.