SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants elected to non-tender Brian Wilson on Friday, meaning the former All-Star closer is now a free agent.
A key figure during the club's run to the 2010 World Series title, Wilson made just two appearances this season before having Tommy John surgery for a second time. Because of a rule in the collective bargaining agreement, the Giants would have had to guarantee Wilson $6.8 million in his final year of arbitration, a price that was too steep for a player who may not be available on opening day.
Teams had until 9 p.m. Friday to make 2013 offers to unsigned players on 40-man rosters.
Wilson, 30, started throwing off flat ground during the National League Championship Series and is currently throwing from a distance of 60 feet.
"It's at a snail's pace at this time," general manager Brian Sabean said of Wilson's rehab process. "Which is not unexpected."
Wilson has maintained that he will be 100 percent on opening day next season, but that timetable is considered overly optimistic by some within the Giants organization. Regardless of when Wilson makes his big league return, there is now no guarantee that he will do so for the franchise that drafted him in 2003.
The Giants are free to negotiate with Wilson on an incentive-laden deal that would start with a lower base salary, but Wilson now has an opportunity to test the market in search of a bigger deal or a guaranteed role as a closer.
Without Wilson, the Giants pieced together the back end of their bullpen and Sergio Romo proved to be a dominant closer in the postseason. The Giants have not committed to Romo as their 2013 closer, but Sabean said Friday that he likes the team's choices, which also would include Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt.
Sabean said he could not add bullpen pieces until he saw what the club's budget looked like after the Giants fill voids at second base and center field.
"We may be prepared to go with the same group," Sabean said of the bullpen.