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MLB trade rumors: Everyone wants Justin Wilson, but the Tigers want too much in return

The Tigers have (rightfully) set their asking price high for their best reliever.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to the Kansas City Royals’ recent success in 2014 and 2015, bullpens are back in vogue. Teams are paying top dollar for high octane arms who ooze strikeouts from their pores, and the prices have gotten a little absurd. Three different relievers — Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon -- have already received contracts this offseason that shattered the previous record for a free agent deal signed by a relief pitcher.

And teams aren’t done yet. We’ve heard rumors from all over that teams are interested in acquiring Justin Wilson from the Tigers. The Chicago Cubs were among the first to ask, with the Houston Astros joining the fray soon after. Earlier this week, the New York Post’s George King III reported that the New York Yankees would be interested in a reunion with the flamethrowing lefthander. With his name floating around the game, one would imagine that several other teams have also inquired on Wilson’s availability.

(Un)fortunately — I’ll let you form your own opinion on this — the Tigers’ asking price appears to be too rich, even for baseball’s blue bloods. On Thursday, Bob Nightengale of the USA Today reported that trade talks between the Cubs and Tigers have stalled. Nightengale said that the two teams were “unable to find [a] match.” While there could be two sides to this story, it seems like the Tigers are the ones with unreasonable demands. The Yankees have also apparently bowed out of the bidding for the same reason (though we can now point and laugh at them for trading him in the first place).

While the Tigers’ direction this offseason remains clear as mud, their insistence on not settling for a subpar trade return* is encouraging. King reported that the Tigers were asking for “controllable major league arms” in return for Wilson. Take that nugget for what you will — if the Tigers do have one thing, it’s a few controllable major league arms — but they have demonstrated several times over that they aren’t interested in just dumping payroll.

*I’m just going to point at the Cameron Maybin trade before you do, and then shrug.

We don’t know the Tigers’ actual trade demands for Wilson. However, based on previous evidence — Detroit wanted Mets outfielder Michael Conforto in return for one year of J.D. Martinez — they were probably a little extreme for a good-but-not-dominant reliever with only two years of club control remaining before free agency. Still, this is how the market is currently blowing. Wilson is a valuable commodity, and one that the Tigers could potentially use to extract an impact talent from another team. If they don’t trade him, they have their best reliever back in the fold for another season.