Detroit Tigers have personnel to trade some veterans, still contend
Why the Detroit Tigers can trade Justin Wilson and stay competitive
The potential loss of Justin Wilson could sting the most given Detroit’s inability to lock down a consistent closer over the years.
However, the team has the means to replace him. What’s more, the Tigers could snag a premium return for one of the top relief arms in the league.
Detroit could slide Shane Greene into the closer’s spot and utilize Bruce Rondon, Joe Jimenez, Alex Wilson and Daniel Stumpf in setup roles.
Rondon struggled in three outings to begin the year, but he turned in elite numbers (31.3 strikeout percentage, 11.15 punch outs per nine innings, 2.95 SIERA, 0.96 WHIP) in 36.1 frames down the stretch in 2016.
If he can pitch at a similar level, Detroit’s bullpen will be more than able to replace Justin Wilson.
Elsewhere, it might benefit the Tigers to give Jimenez an extended look in high-leverage situations.
The flame-throwing prospect is only 22, but he doesn’t have much—if anything—to prove in the minors. Like Stewart, it could be beneficial to give him some meaningful action ahead of the 2018 campaign.
Ideally, Detroit would be able to snag Major-League ready talent in return for Wilson, whether that be prospects in the upper minors or young players with big league experience.
A similar trade to last season’s Mark Melancon swap between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals would probably appeal to the Tigers.