Alex Avila has experienced a resurgence this season after having a awful year on the south side of Chicago in 2016.
As it became official that Justin Wilson had been traded to the Chicago Cubs along with Alex Avila, experts (random fans and media talking heads) began speculating as to who should be the new closer for the Detroit Tigers.
Wilson could be a candidate to take over closing duties in Chicago if Wade Davis leaves in free agency.
If there's any wistful nature to any of this, it's that the Cubs have traded several key prospects over the past calendar year.
Avila, 30, is batting.274 batting average with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs. He plays first and third base. But everyone has their limits and we have to be very careful not to wear him down, to make sure he's fresh during the pennant race. 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. He has appeared in 11 games with the Cubs this season.
"(Wilson) is a setup guy with closer stuff", one veteran scout said.
Candelario is batting.266 with 12 home runs and 66 RBIs at Iowa, but his path to the majors is blocked by third baseman Kris Bryant and first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Wilson and Avila will help, but the team has already played better over the last two weeks than they did earlier in the season and this move just adds to their already talented team. "We will continue to evaluate our players on the field, the players we acquired, and the players in our minor-league system for the remainder of the season". Paredes is now playing in single-A.
The Dodgers, Astros and Nationals were also in the mix for Wilson, who owns a 2.68 ERA and 55:16 K:BB ratio with 13 saves and eight holds this season.
Wilson is striking out 12.3 batters per nine innings this season, fifth among left-handed relievers with at least 20 appearances.
The move indicates that the Cubs are gearing up for another October.