Chicago Cubs Rumors: Alex Avila, Justin Wilson help bolster key areas for Cubs

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 21: Alex Avila /

The Chicago Cubs get their men — Alex Avila and Justin Wilson — in a trade with the Detroit Tigers. Jeimer Candelario and Isaac Paredes head to Detroit.

With the MLB Trade Deadline of 4:00 p.m. ET fastly approaching later today, the Chicago Cubs struck a trade with the Detroit Tigers, bolstering their backup catcher position, and relief corps.

Catcher Alex Avila, 30, and left-hander Justin Wilson, 29, head to the North Side, and Cubs’ third base prospect Jeimer Candelario and shortstop Isaac Paredes head to Detroit along with cash or a player to be named later.

Ever since Miguel Montero was sent packing in June, Willson Contreras has more than carried the load offensively, and defensively for Chicago.

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The addition of Avila provides Chicago with a veteran presence to spell Contreras and helps shoulder the pitching staff down the stretch. He provides offensive pop and defensive smarts of his own.

On the year, Avila is slashing .274/.394/.475 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI. In 50 games behind the plate, Avila has nabbed 11 runners in 33 chances.

He also features a .201 ISO, his highest to this point since 2011, and a lofty .380 BABIP. Avila also has an outstanding walk rate (16.3 percent).

With the acquisition of Avila, the Cubs lead MLB with the most home runs from the catcher position.

More Relief

Wilson, who took over the Tigers’ closer role in May, provides Joe Maddon another lefty to pick from out of the bullpen. In 42 appearances, Wilson has converted 13 saves in 15 opportunities. He sports a 3-4 record, 2.68 ERA and eight holds across 40.1 innings pitched.

Wilson, joining a Cubs bullpen ranked second in NL ERA (3.34), has a career-high 14.3 swinging-strike rate so far in 2017. His 12.27 K/9 is significantly higher than any previous full-season total.

Wilson’s BB/9 and HR/9 are also up over last season, yet it’s important to remember league factors.

Prospects to Motor City

As for Candelario heading to Detroit, he has primarily spent the season with the Iowa Cubs. He is slashing .266/.361/.507 in 81 games at the PCL. Candelario appeared in 11 games for the Cubs earlier this season, and in 33 at-bats, posted a .152 BA.

He hit his first career home run against the Washington Nationals in June and made his MLB debut in 2016. Candelario is blocked by the presence of Kris Bryant at third base and had been considered a likely trade candidate.

Paredes has spent his first season in Class-A playing for South Bend. In 92 games he’s .264/.343/.401 with seven home runs and 49 RBI. While Candelario ranked as the Cubs’ top prospect, Paredes ranked 10th.

How it sets up

If the Cubs don’t make any more trades, they accomplished what they set out to do, acquiring a top reliever and veteran backup catcher.

Avila is in his ninth big league season. He was with the Tigers between 2009-2015, before a stopover in 2016 with the White Sox. Wilson came up in 2012 with the Pirates and has also pitched for the Yankees. He has been with the Tigers since last season.

Avila, making $2 million, is a free agent following the season. Wilson, $2.7 million, is under team control through 2018.

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The addition of Avila also allows for the Chicago Cubs to send Victor Caratini to Iowa to get more seasoning in Triple-A. In 11 games, he hit .192 and hit his first career home run Sunday.