Daily Dodger in Review: Brian Wilson, the failed late-inning man

Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson is earning a lot of money for a guy who is no longer trusted with late innings

BRIAN WILSON, 32, reliever.

Final 2014 stats: 2-4 with a 4.66 ERA, 1.61 WHIP and one save, with 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings and a .259 opponent batting average in 48 1/3 innings.

Contract status: He picked up his option for 2015 at approximately $10 million.

The good: Beard was intriguing, as always. Had a 19-game stretch (May 16-June 30) with a 0.54 ERA, going 1-0 with his lone save and 10 holds. Allowed an earned run in only one of his last 14 games.

The bad: Whatever confidence the Dodgers were clinging to with Wilson evaporated during a 12-game stretch (July 2-Aug. 14) when he gave up 10 hits, seven walks and eight earned runs in 10 1/3 innings. Left-handed hitters batted .297 against him. Had a 5.56 ERA at home. His 2014 ERA was over a run and half higher than the career 3.10 ERA he began the season with.

What’s next: Middle-inning work and crossed fingers.

The take: This is a contract the club’s new management team wishes wasn’t around. But Wilson used a fairly remarkable 18 games (0.66 ERA, 0.88 WHIP) to sign what’s turned into an equally remarkable contract (two years at $20 million). That’s a lot of moola for a reliever no longer trusted with the late innings.

Wilson was just short of a disaster last season, his velocity falling and his effectiveness becoming wholly unreliable. He was supposed to be the eighth-inning guy, as he had been so successfully in his short 2013 stint. When he faltered, the Dodgers spent the rest of the season unsuccessfully rotating guys in the late innings and the bullpen emerged as their greatest weakness.

Now he’s back for another season, and right now that’s a problem. He turns 33 in March, with two Tommy John surgeries behind him and not much reason to believe he’s suddenly going to rediscover his youth or the September of 2013.

Wilson, of course, has been counted out before and come roaring back, so there’s that. There’s also most of last season, which foretells a troubled 2015.

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