The Detroit Tigers held one of the more sought-after trade chips in Justin Wilson, as he was among the top left-handed relievers that contending teams had interest in. Among them were the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals.
Each of the aforementioned teams have also been connected to Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton and San Diego Padres’ Brad Hand. The Dodgers’ stance is a desire to acquire an elite left-handed reliever to pair with Kenley Jansen.
The Chicago Cubs were loosely linked to a similar search for bullpen help, but it wasn’t until Sunday evening that rumblings began to intensify on that front, particularly as it pertained to Wilson.
For a second year in a row, the Cubs have parted with a notable prospect in order to land a coveted lefty. According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com the Cubs are trading Jeimer Candelario, Isaac Paredes and a player to be named later or cash considerations to the Tigers for Alex Avila and Wilson:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 31, 2017
While Wilson is the prize of the deal, Avila being included fills a void that was created when the Cubs released backup catcher Miguel Montero.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein infamously asked, “If not now, when?” after trading for Arolds Chapman. The team went on to win their first World Series since 1907.
On top of acquiring an elite reliever to aid their quest to repeat, Wilson provides the Cubs with a potential option to replace Wade Davis as closer next season. Wilson is under team control through next season, while Davis is eligible for free agency this winter.
Candelario and Paredes were both ranked within the top-10 or 15 prospects in the Cubs farm system by most publications.