Chicago Cubs: Was the trade for Justin Wilson worth it?

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 08: Justin Wilson
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 08: Justin Wilson /

When the Chicago Cubs traded for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila, it seemed like a solid deal. But with Avila gone and Wilson struggling, was it worth it?

On July 31st, 2017 the Chicago Cubs acquired left-handed reliever Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for infielders Jeimer Candelario and Issac Pardes along with cash. Avila is gone, and Wilson continues to struggle. Was the trade worth it?

Was it the right move at the time? Absolutely. When the Chicago Cubs acquired Justin Wilson from the Tigers on trade deadline day last summer, every Cubs fan was thrilled because it appeared that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer had worked their magic again. They filled a glaring who with an All-Star quality arm. Before joining the Cubs, Wilson appeared in 42 ballgames racking up 55 strikeouts and saving 13 games.

Success  Hasn’t Carried Over

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Sadly when Wilson was dealt, the quality of his work has declined dramatically. Once he joined the Cubs, Wilson appeared in 23 games and ended up with a high 5.09 ERA, while walking 19 and striking out only 25 to end the 2017 campaign.

A lot of people thought that a full spring with his new team would do Wilson good to get him back to pitching a high-quality level.

Thus far into the season that thought has proven to be untrue. In his first nine appearances, Wilson has 5.19 ERA, while walking 13 and striking out only 15. All of that in just 8.2 innings of work.

Can Wilson Turn it Around

Face it; there’s nowhere to go but up when it comes to Justin Wilson’s Cubs career. There’s no doubt that command is the most prominent issue for the veteran lefty. Walking 13 hitters in just 8.2 innings in unacceptable for a big league pitcher.

However, it has only been nine games and only about two months of working with Jim Hickey, so I feel that time still needs to be given to see if Wilson can work out his control issues.

Full Trade Recap

Remember, Wilson wasn’t the only player the Cubs acquired in their deal with the Tigers last summer. The also got veteran backstop, Alex Avila who was an excellent add at the time, but he turned out to be a rental player. The veteran catcher signed with the Diamondbacks during the winter.

The central piece that the Cubs’ sent to the Tigers was minor-league third basemen, Jeimer Candelario who is off to a solid start with the Tigers, but there just didn’t appear to be a spot for “Jammer” on the Cubs’ very young and talented infield.

Next: How quickly things change for Almora and Happ

Final Thought

Knowing what I know now would I make this trade over again? Yes, I would. I say that because I know that Wilson can return his All-Star quality. And I think a full year with Jim Hickey will do him good. He was the centerpiece of that deal, and I whole hardly expect him to live up to the hefty price the Cubs paid for him.