Yankees Rumors: The return of relief pitcher Justin Wilson?

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 21: Alex Avila /

With four full days until the non waiver trade deadline, the Yankees have joined a laundry list of potential suitors for left-handed reliever Justin Wilson.

It looks like Yankees general manager Brian Cashman will try to continue his recent trend of acquiring players his club once held under contract.

What began last season with the acquisition of Adam Warren from the Cubs, and most recently David Robertson from the White Sox, may very well extend itself to Justin Wilson of the Detroit Tigers, according to the Anthony Fenech Detroit Free Press.

With one year of arbitration remaining on his current contract, the 29-year-old relief pitcher is having himself another solid season, this time as a pseudo-closer. In 41 appearances, Wilson has put together a 2.75 ERA, 0.941 WHIP, 12.6 K/9 ratio and 12 saves.

If the Yankees were to swing a deal for a player who went 5-0 with a 3.10 ERA and 9.7 K/9 for them back in 2015, it could conceivably convince team officials to avoid the perilous high costs of acquiring a starting pitcher.

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With Warren, Robertson, Chad Green, Tommy Kahnle, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman, it’s entirely possible manager Joe Girardi would only ask the bulk of his starters to go five innings max, maybe ever four. This change in strategy would certainly keep veteran shooters Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia fresher down the stretch of the season.

In Fenech’s piece, he says that the Tigers hope to command a haul similar to what the Yankees received last season from the Cubs for Aroldis Chapman. Now, I  find that a bit hard to believe when comparing the pedigree and accomplishments of the two.

Wilson has 13 career saves. Nothing against the guy personally, but he’s not a battle tested closer. Sure, he may continue to grow into that role, but Chapman commanded the type of trade package he did because he’s saved a total of 194 games in 8 seasons.

Interestingly enough, Wilson’s splits lend themselves to being more effective against right-handed hitters (.214/.267/.336) than left-handed (.125/.229/.302). No, it’s not a huge difference, but it’s worth noting that a player whom the Yanks once acquired for Francisco Cervelli is much more than just a lefty specialist.

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With competition likely coming from the Dodgers, Nationals, Cubs and others, the Yankees will need to assemble an enticing package of prospects, but in no way, shape or form go overboard for another relief pitcher. Because come this offseason, they’ll still need to sign one, maybe even two starters.