Detroit Tigers Trade for Lefty Justin Wilson to Bolster Bullpen


The Detroit Tigers added to their bullpen depth by adding relief pitcher Justin Wilson in a trade with the New York Yankees.

The Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees agreed to a trade on Wednesday evening which brings left-handed reliever Justin Wilson to the Tigers in exchange for minor league pitchers Luis Cessa and Chad Green.

Wilson came up through the Pittsburgh Pirates organization as a starting pitcher but transitioned to relief with he cracked the big leagues.  In all Wilson has thrown 200 big league innings with a 3.03 ERA to go with a solid 23.5% strikeout rate and a slightly higher than average (though not a problem) 9.9% walk rate.

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Wilson has thus far excelled at preventing home runs and inducing infield pop-ups, but it remains to be seen if that’s a skill he can repeat in the long-term. His pitching repertoire includes a heavily relied upon 95 mph fastball with a cutter and occasional curveball.

Cessa was one of the pitching prospects the Tigers acquired from the New York Mets in the Yoenis Cespedes deadline trade. He made seven starts in the Tigers’ organization at the AAA level following the trade and put up a 5.97 ERA, though his peripherals (particularly his strikeout rate of more than 8.1 batter per nine innings) suggested better performance.

Green just finished up his third season in the Tigers’ system and has had success at the A and AA levels as a starting pitcher. But he’s fairly old for a prospect (he’ll turn 25 in May) and is probably still at least a couple of years away from being able to contribute to a big league roster.

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It would make sense for Wilson to platoon in a setup role with Mark Lowe, with Wilson facing lefty-heavy portions of opposing lineups and Lowe facing righties.

Wilson is under team control for three seasons as an arbitration eligible player. But as a relief pitcher without any career saves, his yearly raises should be very modest.