Mets Should Be Wary of Justin Wilson

As mentioned in a report from MMO yesterday, the Mets are actively pursuing many options including Adam WarrenMarwin GonzalezAsdrubal Cabrera, and Justin Wilson.

Now, Wilson is a name that’s been floating around in Mets trade rumors all offseason, but personally I feel as though he’s a guy they should stay away from. There are better, cheaper options out there, and Wilson just isn’t worth the money that he’s projected to make.

Wilson’s best two years were 2015 and 2016, when he posted a strikeout rate above nine with a walk rate below two in each season, while recording a cumulative 3.61 ERA in that time span. He continued this success into 2017, and was actually having a career year with the Tigers, with 12.27 K/9, 3.57 BB/9, and a 2.68 ERA in 42 games.

However, he was abysmal after being traded to the Cubs. The strikeout rate stayed about the same, but in 23 games, the left-hander walked 9.68 per nine innings which resulted in a 5.09 ERA. There was likely some bad luck in play, as his BABIP shot up from .210 to .391, but still, walking over a batter an inning is absolutely unacceptable. He finished the year with a sub-par walk rate of 5.43.

The walk problems continued all throughout his 2018 season with the Cubs, posting another 5.43 BB/9  in 71 games. His ERA was still a decent 3.46 and his K/9 was 11.36, but a guy who walks that many just isn’t somebody that you should rely on. Strikeouts are nice, but Wilson simply has been allowing too many walks to be trusted upon.

Plus, Wilson is likely to receive a deal with an AAV of around $7-$9 million. While that’s not an overwhelming contract to handle, it would be a lot wiser and more effective to go after a guy like Xavier Cedeño, who will probably receive more like $2-4 million. He’s coming off a very good season for the White Sox and Brewers in which he posted a 2.43 ERA with 9.18 K/9 and 4.32 BB/9. His career ERA is 3.69 with an FIP of 3.60. Cedeño is just as good as Wilson — in fact, he’s arguably better — and he’s only a year older and costs about a third to half as much as Wilson.

Luis Avilan is another left-handed reliever who is much like Cedeño in that he’s a solid pitcher who can retire batters from both sides of the plate and will not be demanding as big of a payday. Avilan has a career 3.09 ERA and is two years younger than Wilson. He’s also coming off a season in which he had a 3.77 ERA with very strong peripherals, including a 10.13 K/9 and 3.09 FIP.

Both these guys cost less than Wilson, and will provide similar production while also issuing fewer walks. As it stands, the bullpen depth is very thin, and Wilson would really not solve any problems. The Mets could really use another reliever, and a lefty would be especially nice, but wasting almost $10 million per year on a guy with control problems isn’t going to help that much. The Mets need relievers who can get outs and limit baserunners while also leaving payroll space to bolster other areas of the team. Someone like Cedeño or Avilan accomplishes that much more effectively than Wilson.

If the Mets are smart, they’ll go after one of these cheaper, more desirable options rather than the guy who’s walked 5.43 batters per nine innings over the last two years. Unfortunately, we’ve seen the Mets not always take the wisest route in the past when it comes to decisions like this.

About Mojo Hill 68 Articles
Joseph “Mojo” Hill is an avid baseball fan in LA who loves writing about the Mets majors and minors online. He was at the Bartolo home run game and the Utley “slide” game. He is also captain of his high school’s varsity tennis team and a section leader in the marching band. You can follow him on Twitter @mojohill22