Most thought the Detroit Tigers would attempt some sort of rebuild in the 2015 MLB offseason. After trading away David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria at the Trade Deadline, it seemed like the Tigers were going to try and build through the farm, a system in need of an overhaul.
The Tigers have $104.8 million committed to just five players entering the 2016 season. Ian Kinsler‘s $14 million is the smallest number, then Anibal Sanchez at $16.8 million, Victor Martinez at $18 million and Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera checking in at $28 million. This is quite a lot of money tied up to fully commit to a rebuilding year.
As part of a much needed bullpen overhaul, the Detroit Tigers acquired left-hander Justin Wilson. To obtain the 28-year old Wilson from the New York Yankees, the Tigers sent second-tier pitching prospects. The Yankees will welcome Luis Cessa and Chad Green as organizational depth. With this trade, it seems the Tigers are more willing to go all in for the playoffs in 2016.
Luis Cessa, 23, was added to Detroit’s 40-man roster in November after being acquired from the New York Mets with Michael Fulmer in July of last season for Cespedes. Originally signed as a shortstop at age 16 out of Mexico back in 2008, his longstanding Minor League service time and advancement to as high as Triple-A would likely have had him selected in the 2015 Rule 5 Draft. Instead Detroit used him as trade bait to acquire a power lefty they desperately needed.
After failing to eclipse the Mendoza line in two Minor League season, Cessa converted full-time to pitcher in 2011 and saw immediate results. This change in position gave him another chance to reach the Majors.
It wasn’t until 2014 when the level advancement seemed to start hurting him. Cessa posted a 4.26 ERA and struck out 86 batters in 118.1 IP across Single-A and Double-A. Not too bad, but he allowed nearly a hit per inning (117 hits) resulting in a WHIP above 1.2.
That obviously needed to be fine-tuned, but in 2015 as he made the jump to Triple-A, both in the Mets and Tigers systems, his WHIP exploded. He allowed a whopping 163 hits in 139.1 innings, although he did strike out batters 119 times.
The upside may be limited, but there’s enough potential that is seen in Cessa for him to be traded to Detroit, be protected on the 40-man roster and get traded again.
In Chad Green, the Yankees are acquiring another prospect “with a chance.” A return for Justin Wilson was never going to be too glamorous anyway, but there’s something to be worked with in the 24-year old Green. An 11th round pick in 2013 out of Louisville, Green has advanced as high as Double-A in 2015 with the Erie SeaWolves.
He posted a 3.93 ERA in 27 starts across a career-high 148.2 innings. He struck out 137 after K’ing 125 the year before in Single-A ball. Like Cessa, he had major problems keeping runners off the base paths. In those 148.2 frames, he gave up 170 hits, walked 43 batters for a WHIP of 1.433 and allowed over 10 hits per nine innings.
There’s value in every prospect you trade away and receive, or else we just would trade bats and cleats. As expected, the Yankees return in youngsters for the lefty reliever Justin Wilson has more to do with development down the road.