Brian Wilson signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in July of 2013 and was a fan favorite and bullpen savior by September. He followed that with a strong showing in October and was signed to a two-year deal in the off-season.
That affection quickly changed this season when Wilson failed to replicate his 2013 numbers and struggled all season long. Beginning the year as the setup man for closer Kenley Jansen, the right-handed Wilson bounced around the later innings as manager Don Mattingly tried to get him going and find him a spot. Wilson never regained his velocity, although he said he was saving it for the postseason, and was not a reliable arm to close out games.
Wilson ended the year with a 4.66 ERA, a 1.614 WHIP and 29 walks in 48.1 innings pitched. He appeared in 61 games, but by the end of the season he was no longer used for innings at a time, but instead paired with J.P. Howell to get out of certain situations. The 32-year-old still managed to strike out 54 batters; however, it was not enough to overcome his struggles.
In the postseason, Wilson appeared in one game and faced three batters. He walked one, allowed a hit and got an out. His velocity did not reach the mid-90s like he suggested.
Wilson was able to close out one game with no problems and it happened to be against his former team, the San Francisco Giants, and also happened to clinch the Naional League West for the Dodgers. The bearded reliever closed out a 9-1 victory and set off a celebration at Dodger Stadium.
After the Dodgers loss in the postseason, Wilson announced his intentions to come back next season on his player option. The right-hander will be given the opportunity to claim the setup role once again and he will need to come into the spring ready to go. If he can recover from his 2014 struggles and become a valuable arm once again, then the Dodgers bullpen will be steadied a bit.