With the trade deadline drawing ever nearer, both the Dodgers and Nationals have started to set their sights on potential pitching reinforcements. That includes Tigers’ powerhouse lefty reliever Justin Wilson, though FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that the club may be reluctant to sell at the deadline as they’re still in the hunt for a wild card.
That doesn’t appear to have deterred interest in the 29-year-old southpaw, who will collect a $2.7 million salary in 2017 and is under control through the 2018 season. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that as many as four clubs have sent scouts to follow the Tigers lately, including the Astros, Cubs, and aforementioned Dodgers and Nationals. Should the Tigers become sellers at the deadline, Rosenthal adds that there would be no shortage of teams interested in the flame-throwing lefty.
The Astros nearly had a deal to acquire Wilson during the 2016 offseason, but couldn’t meet the asking price after the Tigers reportedly rejected a trade for top outfield prospect Derek Fisher. Of Wilson’s four suitors, the Astros’ and Dodgers’ bullpens currently rank at the top of the league, while the Nationals are in dead last with a collective -0.7 fWAR and 5.15 ERA. Unlike a prospect-rich organization like the Astros, the Nationals don’t appear to have many bargaining chips left to net someone of Wilson’s talent. With or without him, however, they’ll need to figure out a way to bolster their relief corps if they want to make a deep run in the playoffs this fall.
There’s much to like about Wilson aside from his obvious affordability, including the 2.48 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 and stunning 13.2 SO/9 he’s produced over just 32 2/3 innings this year. He assumed the closing role from a struggling Francisco Rodriguez in early May and set down a 2-2 record with eight saves in 20 appearances since the switch.