By Dylan Hernandez
1:38 AM EDT, July 31, 2013
Uncertain whether they could deal for a late-inning reliever before the nonwaiver trade deadline Wednesday, the Dodgers turned to the free-agent market and signed longtime rival Brian Wilson.
Wilson, a former World Series hero and All-Star closer with the San Francisco Giants, agreed to a deal worth $1 million that will expire at the end of the season.
The colorful 31-year-old right-hander comes to the Dodgers as a reclamation project, as he is recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery and hasn't pitched since April 2012. When his contract becomes official, Wilson will be placed on the disabled list and report to the Dodgers' spring-training complex in Arizona. He is expected to pitch in minor league games before joining the major league team.
General Manager Ned Colletti expects Wilson to be in the major leagues in two to three weeks. Manager Don Mattingly said he envisions Wilson setting up closer Kenley Jansen.
"We know what kind of competitor he's been, the games he's pitched in, the success he's had in the biggest games," Colletti said. "It's a matter of health and being sharp. We're willing to take that chance."
Wearing his trademark beard, Wilson was one of the more colorful personalities to emerge during the Giants' 2010 World Series run. That season, he recorded a league-best 48 saves and closed out six more games in the playoffs, including the final game of the World Series.
"We shared some great moments," said third baseman Juan Uribe, who played for the Giants that season. "He's a great teammate, someone you want by your side."
Wilson blew out his elbow in his second appearance of 2012. The Tommy John surgery was the second of his career; the first was when he was at Louisiana State University.
The Dodgers sent scouts to watch Wilson throw at UCLA on Thursday and again Sunday. He was said to be throwing 90 to 93 mph.
Colletti and two of his special assistants met with Wilson in Beverly Hills on Sunday.
The Dodgers' offer was one of three received by Wilson, who makes his off-season home in Los Angeles. The two others were also from contending teams, according to a person close to Wilson.
Colletti explained not many teams are willing to trade quality bullpens arms; those who are willing want top-tier prospects in return.
"I've heard the same five names, no matter who it is," Colletti said.
That being the case, Colletti said he doesn't know whether the Dodgers will be able to make any deals before the 1 p.m. nonwaiver trade deadline Wednesday.
Former Dodger Hiroki Kuroda will take the mound for the New York Yankees on Wednesday. Pitching opposite him will be Clayton Kershaw. When Kuroda and Kershaw were teammates, they used to play catch almost every day. "I'm looking forward to it, but I also don't want to pitch against him," Kuroda said. "He's a great pitcher." … Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo will throw out the ceremonial first pitch Wednesday. Ronaldo plays for Real Madrid of Spain, which will be part of a doubleheader at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. … The Dodgers will screen the movie "The Sandlot" after their Sept. 1 game against the San Diego Padres.
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