One of the closers I avoided this year was San Francisco’s Brian Wilson. Even though he amassed 41 saves last year, he did it while posting an ERA right around 5.00. Maybe I’m too conservative, but I am just not willing to sign up for that adventure. I’ve done it before and I damn near had a brain aneurysm. Here’s a big fuck you, Joe Borowski and Todd Jones.
On that note, news out of Giant’s camp is that Wilson’s not going to be ready for Opening Day.
If you’re one of those guys who will do anything for a save, I’d like to introduce you to Wilson’s likely replacement, Jeremy Affeldt.
Over the last four seasons, the 6’4″ lefty has bounced among four teams, pitching primarily as a lefty specialist. Most of those stops have been characterized by fairly pedestrian numbers until he reached Cincy last year. I don’t know how he did it, but Affeldt’s strikeout rate went up significantly to more than one per inning and through 78 innings, he posted a modest 3.33 ERA.
Affeldt closed 13 games for the Royals in 2005 as Mike McDougal’s replacement, so he does have some experience in the closer role. And if Affeldt doesn’t get the ball during that first save situation, I would look to Bobby Howry to get the chance, even though he had some trouble with consistency last year.
This situation isn’t something that should be monitored. Wilson will be the Giant’s closer as soon as he is ready, but it could pay off to vulture a few saves in his absence.