By Mitch Chortkoff
The Detroit Tigers were mighty good last season except for the fatal flaw of not having a premier closer.
It made a lot of sense when they negotiated with free agent Brian Wilson, who earned two championship rings with the San Francisco Giants, then helped the Dodgers last season.
But Wilson then informed the Tigers he wasn’t going to join them. A few days later the Dodgers announced they had brought Wilson back with a one-year contract and a player option for 2015.
They didn’t reveal a financial figure, but I can tell you it’s for $10 million.
These are the Dodgers with their new ownership, a drastic change from the Frank McCourt years.
They compete for free agents and the emphasis is on advancing to the World Series.
A word of caution, however. Outspending opponents doesn’t assure a team of winning a World Series. There are other important factors such as injuries and slumps. But if you’re a fan of any team you’re happy to see the management is trying its best to succeed.
Wilson wasn’t even the Dodgers’ closer last season. Kenley Jansen was.
But the Dodgers are willing to give $10 million to a guy who will usually pitch the eighth inning.
And, of course, if Jansen is injured or ineffective Wilson could become the closer.
Wilson had 18 save opportunities last season and pitched a scoreless inning 17 times.
Previously with the Giants he was so good he’d probably still be with them except that he was injured and they went in another direction.
A lot of Dodger fans were disappointed last season when the St. Louis Cardinals represented the National League in the World Series.
But for first-year owners the Dodger guys did mighty well. Improvement is always desired and that’s the hope for 2014.
The Dodgers had baseball’s highest payroll last season but they showed restraint in not pursuing second baseman Robinson Cano recently. He’s going to Seattle on a $240 million deal. The Dodgers can’t get every free agent.
As January gets near we become closer to Febuary and the start of spring training. It won’t be much longer to wait.