Fear the beard? Not if you're Dave Dombrowski, apparently. Earlier this evening, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported that the Tigers have expressed interest in signing Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson.
Tigers interested in free agent reliever Brian Wilson, sources tell @Ken_Rosenthal and me. They would like Wilson or Joe Nathan.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 13, 2013
Wilson only appeared in 18 games in the 2013 regular season after rehabbing from the second Tommy John surgery of his career. He allowed just one run in 19 2/3 innings between the regular season and playoffs while striking out 21 hitters and walking six. Wilson's fastball velocity returned to pre-surgery levels too. According to Brooks Baseball, Wilson's fastball averaged 94.4 miles per hour in 2013, just shy of the 94.9 mph he averaged in 2011.
However, the second Tommy John surgery is concerning. Here is what I said about Wilson in my offseason preview from last week:
While the list of pitchers to successfully return from a single surgery is long and distinguished, the list of those who have overcome two Tommy John operations is the opposite. There is a good chance that, once we get beyond the small sample size of 19 2/3 innings, we see that Wilson is no longer the guy that dominated with the San Francisco Giants for five seasons.
Wilson put up a 3.21 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, and 171 saves in 320 innings over six-plus seasons with the San Francisco Giants. He made a prorated share of $1 million plus performance incentives with the Dodgers in 2013, but stands to make much more on the open market this offseason. MLB Trade Rumors projects that Wilson will sign a one year, $8.5 million contract for the 2014 season.
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