As of Sunday morning, the Detroit Tigers were still waiting for a team to take a big swing at Justin Wilson. There were up to a dozen teams interested in their left-handed reliever in the weeks leading up to today’s trade deadline. But as the days dwindled closer to today’s 4 p.m. deadline, no team had stepped up.
Late Sunday night, the Chicago Cubs did. The Tigers have traded their top trade piece – along with catcher Alex Avila – for prospects Jeimer Candelario and Isaac Paredes, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The deal is done and is expected to be formally announced later this morning.
Candelario, 23, is ranked near the top of the Cubs' prospect lists. This season, he made a brief appearance in the major leagues (11 games) and is hitting .266 with 12 home runs and 52 RBIs in 81 games for Triple-A Iowa this season.
Considered by some to have the ability to play first base as well, he was blocked at third base by reigning National League MVP Kris Bryant in Chicago. He was signed by the Cubs for $500,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2010. In seven minor league seasons, Candelario is a .270 hitter.
He fits the profile of the type of player the Tigers were waiting for in return for Wilson: An upper-tier prospect who is close to major league-ready. Multiple evaluators contacted by the Free Press believe he has the potential to be an everyday third baseman, though it’s unclear of the Tigers’ future plans for him.
Paredes – much further away – could carry the most intrigue. Just 18 years old, he is hitting .261 with seven home runs at Class A South Bend this season. Paredes hails from Mexico; he is playing in his second professional season in the United States.
Paredes, according to evaluators who have seen him play, is mainly an offensive player: He is said to have good traits at the plate but doesn’t profile as a shortstop in the future. Perhaps a second baseman, one comparison passed along was that of power-hitter Dan Uggla.
The Cubs’ package emerged as the winner among four teams that ranked as the finalists, including the Astros, Nationals and Dodgers.
With the latest trade, the Tigers have added five prospects, all infielders, in two recent trades. The package deal could be the last for the team before today’s 4 p.m. deadline.
Wilson has a 2.68 ERA and 13 saves this season, posting 55 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings.
Avila, meanwhile, was among the Tigers’ most productive hitters in the first half of the season. He’s batting .271 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs.