Dodgers Report: Joe Maddon

Seeing double when Dodgers, Rays meet

August, 9, 2013
8/09/13
12:07
AM PT
Brian Wilson can see it from afar.

The former All-Star closer just joined the Los Angeles Dodgers organization 10 days ago -- and his closest work place to a Dodger Stadium mound was in Rancho Cucamonga -- but he has watched enough games on TV to see what’s happening.

[+] EnlargeBrian Wilson
Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY SportsBrian Wilson says before the Dodgers even signed him to a deal, he could tell the atmosphere around the team had changed.
"You can see the atmosphere has kind of changed. You watch all the teams throughout the year and kind of see a certain carryover, having a loose atmosphere, playing fun," Wilson said. "You can see they’re having a great time."

You would think a guy like Wilson, with his dramatic and ever-changing hairstyles and braided beard, might make things even more fun in the Dodgers clubhouse.

But as Wilson spoke to reporters after his first rehab outing Wednesday night, I couldn't help marveling at what a luxury he is. The Dodgers really didn't have all that urgent a need when they took a $1 million gamble to see if Wilson could give them quality relief work for the final six weeks of the season and, they hope, beyond.

During this 41-game stretch, in which the Dodgers have won 33 games, their relievers are 10-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 115 2/3 innings. Before that, they were 12-17 with a 4.67 ERA.

So, if Wilson is good, they have one more experienced setup man to get the ball to red-hot closer Kenley Jansen. If Jansen falters, Wilson might even step in. If he's not good or his arm doesn't hold up, they watch a million bills from their $216 million payroll go up in smoke. Oh well.

Of course, all teams have limitations of one sort or another. The Dodgers are practically without bounds financially, but former owner Frank McCourt left the Dodgers' minor-league system bare. Thus, the Dodgers elected to pass on any potential trades for relievers, holding onto their few premium prospects.

The Tampa Bay Rays, who visit Dodger Stadium for the first time ever this weekend, have arrived at a similar place through different means. The Rays, who are the American League version of the Dodgers -- 25-8 since June 28 -- are cash-poor, but prospect-rich.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Yasiel Puig
BA HR RBI R
.296 16 69 92
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Gonzalez 27
RBIA. Gonzalez 116
RY. Puig 92
OPSY. Puig .863
WC. Kershaw 21
ERAC. Kershaw 1.77
SOC. Kershaw 239