Brian Wilson signs with Dodgers: Unimaginable and plenty of upside

Closer Brian Wilson celebrates following the San Francisco Giants' division-clinching win over the San Diego Padres in 2012. Wilson signed with the Dodgers on Tuesday.
(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

Perhaps you recall, I love Brian Wilson. Alas, the one whose music helped form the backdrop to my youth, not the quirky one who used to close for the San Francisco Giants.

Only now in a move so fantastical it somehow fits, Wilson has signed a contract with the Dodgers.

And come on, it is bizarre. However logical, it will take a certain amount of getting used to. The Beard belongs in black and orange, irritating and prodding and generally being annoying.

Not pitching for the Dodgers. Only it’s going to happen, the Dodgers signed the free agent Tuesday to a contract for the rest of the season. He’s scheduled to head to the team’s training facility in Phoenix and then pitch a few rehab games before joining the Dodgers.


Your immediate reaction is: No way, no chance, please say it ain’t so. Another General Manager Ned Colletti ex-Giant.

Only, really, there is little in this move to get all wound up about, other than the idea itself. The bullpen is the one area that Colletti has said he would like to upgrade.

If Wilson comes through and even resembles the right-hander with 171 career saves, it’s a great move. He did not cost the Dodgers a single prospect. He cost then only money, which apparently remains in healthy supply.

“It’s not costing us anything and it’s a guy who had the ball in his hands the last out of the World Series,” Manager Don Mattingly said. “And he wants to be here.”

One of Wilson’s three homes is in Los Angeles, a place where his eccentricities can actually blend in with the crowd. No easy task when you wear a died beard that almost looks like a bad movie prop.

A beard which Mattingly said can remain.

“Yeah, we’ve had beards here before,” he said. “I don’t worry about those kind of rules. We have a few characters in (the clubhouse) so I’m thinking he’s going to fit right in.”

If Wilson proves effective, great. If not, it’s a minor roll of the dice. It’s pretty much all upside.

There is no plan to use him to close, that job remains Kenley Jansen’s. But Wilson gives them a veteran presence and someone who can at least set up Jansen.

“He’ll be one of the guys who can get the ball to Kenley,” Mattingly said. “When you come to the ballpark it’s really about how you’re going to get the ball to Kenley with a lead in the ninth.”

Soon enough, Wilson will be with the Dodgers and we can all start our adjustment period in earnest. And now that he’ll be doing his idiosyncratic routine with the Dodgers, who knows, maybe some will even learn to love Brian Wilson.