Anyone that follows the Astros on a regular basis or even on a weekly basis, knows that they have bullpen woes. From their “closer” Jose Veras, all the way to relief pitchers Rhiner Cruz and Xavier Cedeno, the Astros have struggled to keep the lead keep the run differential as low as possible. There is one former All-Star closer available on the market that could possibly help their bullpen woes. Brian Wilson, come on down!
Before we talk about Brian Wilson himself, let’s take a look at the Astros bullpen (or lack thereof). To say the Astros pitching staff as a whole has struggled this year would be a huge understatement. The Astros 5.75 ERA as a team is almost one whole run above the second to last team in the MLB (Angels – 4.78 ERA). What may be more pathetic is that the Astros bullpen has had to pitch 130 of the 281.2 innings (46%) the team has pitched. If you are looking for a positive in the bullpen, it’s that Josh Fields is on pace to have a 0.00 ERA when it’s all said and done. Here is a look at everyone that has at least one relief appearance for the Astros this year.[table “5” not found /]
It’s safe to say the Astros have pitching woes, and a lot of the blame goes on the starters. Brad Peacock, Philip Humber, and Erik Bedard have done a terrible job pitching deep into the game, or even into the 5th inning, giving the bullpen many innings. The bullpen has been taxed all season, which is why the Astros have had to call up four different starters from OKC to have fresh arms for long relief. The bullpen has been pathetic. Atrocious. An opposing team’s dream. Even when given the lead, the bullpen hasn’t performed well, converting just three of the six save opportunities so far this year (one save being Bedard’s three inning save on opening night). The bullpen can definitetly use a new pitcher, and a new attitude. There is one name out there that can “bolster” this bullpen, and would be a win-win situation if the Astros give him a shot.
Brian Wilson has become one of the more memorable closers of the last five years. Wilson’s beard, attitude, and statistics have all been above average since he received the full-time closer’s gig as a member of the San Francisco Giants in 2008. For his career, Wilson has a 3.21 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, with 340 K’s in 320 IP. He has 163 saves in his last four seasons (not including his injured 2012 season). Wilson is known to be an elite closer, and currently is a free agent. Wilson, 31, sat out 2012 with TJ surgery, and as recently as early March, he was considered 80-85% healthy. There are reports that Wilson will not sign with a team until he is fully healthy, but that time should approach soon. If Wilson is interested, the Astros should scoop him up.
Some fans may be opposed to signing Wilson because of his situation. Wilson is 31, coming off an injury, and fans may think he can’t return to top form. However, nowadays, pitchers that come off of TJ surgery come back stronger than ever. And the Astros should be interested in him because he is a good relief pitcher and has a great attitude. Wilson is known to be a positive locker room presence, and everyone knows that the Astros can use a “clown” like him in the locker room. On the pitching side, the bullpen has been terrible and Wilson can help out. Wilson could be interested in the Astros, since they can guarantee him the closer’s role right away, and give him an opportunity to build up his value. If Wilson has a good few months, the Astros could flip him if they want, and get back another piece for their future. If he struggles, the Astros could simply release him, and nothing much would have changed. This situation seems like a win-win for both parties, and something the Astros should look into over the next few weeks.