Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila pulled off another trade on Sunday. The Tigers brought in infielders Jeimer Candelario in a deal that sent Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to the Chicago Cubs.
The Tigers used two of the franchise’s best trade chips in the transaction, parting with closer Justin Wilson and backstop Alex Avila in the deal.
The move was announced in a tweet on the Tigers’ official Twitter account.
"“The #Tigers have acquired INF’s Jeimer Candelario & Isaac Paredes and a PTBNL or cash from the Cubs for LHP Justin Wilson and C Alex Avila.”"
Wilson and Avila were in the midst of strong seasons for Detroit.
At the time of the deal, Wilson paced Detroit relievers with a 0.9 WAR. Meanwhile, the catcher was third among position players with a 1.9 WAR.
Dealing the duo obviously negatively impacts the Tigers’ current roster, but it made sense to trade the veterans.
Wilson’s value probably wasn’t going to be higher given his (relatively speaking) newly-minted closer stats, effectiveness and controllability.
Conceivably, the Tigers could have held on to the 29-year-old considering he isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2018 campaign.
However, the southpaw was only going to get more expensive with another year of arbitration remaining, as well as a potentially significant free agent deal if he remains effective through the 2018 campaign.
Trading him now allows Detroit to ease Joe Jimenez, the team’s long-term answer at the end of games, into high-pressure situations.
The Tigers will surely miss Wilson late in games. Still, there’s more to gain long-term if Jimenez can get acclimated to pitching in the later innings sooner rather than later.
In the midst of a resurgent campaign, Alex Avila was the perfect trade chip.
Inked in the offseason on a one-year deal to compliment James McCann, Avila slugged his way into more playing time with some excellent numbers.
The veteran notched a .201 ISO, a 16.3 walk percentage, a .394 on-base percentage, a .373 wOBA and a 134 wRC+.
At 30, Avila obviously wasn’t the team’s long-term answer behind the plate. However, he showed he can add still add value.
What’s more, considering he’s a free agent at the conclusion of the World Series, Detroit can always try to re-sign the veteran in the offseason.