It's not Christmas yet, but you might as well call Al Avila Santa Claus. The Detroit Tigers announced they have acquired left-handed relief pitcher Justin Wilson from the New York Yankees in exchange for righthanders Luis Cessa and Chad Green. Fox 2's Jennifer Hammond first reported the news. ESPN's Marly Rivera reported earlier that the Tigers and Yankees were in talks, which progressed very quickly. The Tigers were known to be looking for another relief pitcher -- preferably a lefthander -- so Wilson fits the bill very well.
Wilson is a 28-year-old reliever who spent two-plus seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and one with the Yankees, working at least 60 innings in each of his three full seasons in the major leagues. In 2015, he posted a 3.10 ERA, with a 2.69 FIP. He had very good strikeout, walk, and home run rates across the board, resulting in 1.5 fWAR. That WAR ranked 10th in the American League among all relievers for the 2015 season.
Wilson was a fifth-round draft pick of the Pirates out of Cal State Fresno in 2008. He made his debut in 2012, and has been a workhorse out of the bullpen the past three seasons, with a career ERA of 3.10 and a 3.22 FIP. The Pirates traded him to New York after the 2104 season for catcher Francisco Cervelli.
Wilson has three pitches in his repertoire, but his bread and butter pitch is a 95 mph fastball which he throws 80 percent of the time. He also throws a cutter and a curve ball, which sit at 90 and 83 miles per hour, respectively, according to FanGraphs.
Wilson has earned near the major league minimum salary each season thus far, but will be eligible for arbitration for the first time this off season where he is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $1.3 million.The Yankees have Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances currently working the late innings, and both of them are at the top of the game for their roles. They also have a number of prospects ready to step into the major leagues next season. The Tigers are known to have checked in on Miller earlier this offseason.