The Tigers recently agreed to a one-year, $1.925MM dollar contract to avoid arbitration with reliever Alex Wilson. Per Spotrac, Wilson is arb-eligible again in 2019 and then will be a free agent.
At 31, it seems unlikely that Wilson will be part of the Tigers rebuild. That makes him unlikely to be with the Tigers beyond his current contract.
Wilson has not drawn much interest on the trade market thus far this offseason. As such, the Tigers could hold onto him to start the season and look to deal him at the trade deadline. The Tigers have had success dealing relievers at the deadline, with both Joakim Soria and Justin Wilson bringing in solid returns.
Additionally, Wilson’s trade value is not at its peak right now. While his $1.925MM contract is quite reasonable, he is coming off an ugly 2017 season.
Wilson posted three consecutive seasons with a sub-3.00 ERA before posting a 4.50 ERA in 60 innings last season. His low strikeout rate finally caught up with him last year. His 1.05 HR/9 rate was a career-high as well.
It would behoove the Tigers to hold Wilson and hope he starts the 2018 campaign out strong. Then, they could deal him for prospects at the deadline. The risk of course is that he either continues to struggle or gets hurt. However, the Tigers still have Wilson for 2019 so they could always just hold him again and try and deal him at that point.
If a team comes forth with an interest in Wilson the Tigers absolutely need to listen in. He doesn’t hold a ton of value right now however, and they are better off moving him at the deadline if he returns to form in the first half of 2018.