Issue: Brian Wilson’s status
Analysis: The All-Star closer’s health, though a concern given his 2011 elbow problems and his recent revelation that he’s suffered hip problems throughout his career, factors into a potential scenario that’s gone largely ignored by fans and the media.
Wilson, who turns 30 in less than a month, isn’t under contract for 2013.
Granted, it’s not a Matt Cain situation. Cain can walk after this season if he doesn’t get a new deal, whereas Wilson, who’ll make a reported $8.5 million this year, will be under club control in 2013 because he has another year of arbitration eligibility.
But consider this: Closer-in-training Heath Hembree, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound righty who was blowing high-90s gas a mound away from Wilson on Monday during a bullpen session at Scottsdale Stadium, could make “B-Weezy” expendable with a big year.
Say Wilson struggles with injuries again this season, or struggles period. Say Hembree, who posted a 1.86 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 53¹⁄³ innings at high Class A and Double-A stops last season, tears it up at Triple-A Fresno.
Say you’re Brian Sabean and you need more offense next offseason, as usual. Do you stick with a banged-up 31-year-old who’ll cost at least $9 million in 2013, or trade him and go with the 24-year-old flamethrower who’ll make the big-league minimum? Duh, right?
Editor’s note: Every Thursday throughout spring training, The S.F. Examiner will take a look at one major issue involving the Giants, one involving the A’s and offer analysis.