The New York Yankees made a surprise move on Wednesday, as they traded left-handed reliever Justin Wilson to the Detroit Tigers for right-handed pitchers Luis Cessa and Chad Green.
Down the stretch last season, Wilson became one of the most reliable pitchers in the Yankees bullpen, as he pitched the seventh inning, Dellin Betances had the eighth, and Andrew Miller would close it out.
Wilson was acquired by the Yankees on November 12, 2014 from the Pittsburgh Pirates for catcher Francisco Cervelli.
Wilson, 28, went 5-0 with a 3.10 ERA (61.0IP, 21ER) and 66K in a team-high-tying 74 relief appearances with the Yankees in 2015, setting career highs in strikeouts and games pitched. He allowed just seven of his 44 inherited runners to score (15.9%), the Majors’ fifth-lowest such percentage. Over parts of four Major League seasons with the Pirates (2012-14) and Yankees (2015), Wilson has gone 14-5 with a 3.03 ERA (199.1IP, 67ER) and 193K.
Cessa, 23, went 8-10 with a 4.52 ERA (139.1IP, 163H, 77R/70ER, 36BB, 119K, 7HR) in 25 combined starts with Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas in the Mets system and Triple-A Toledo in the Detroit organization in 2015.
Cessa was acquired by Detroit along with RHP Michael Fulmer from the Mets in exchange for OF Yoenis Cespedes on July 31, 2015.
Originally signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2008, Cessa was an infielder in his first two minor league seasons (2009-10) before solely becoming a pitcher in 2011 at age 19. In his five seasons as a pitcher, Cessa owns a 32-30 record with 1 save and a 3.68 ERA (513.2IP, 528H, 210ER, 110BB, 419K, 32HR) in 95G/86GS.
Green, 24, went 5-14 with a 3.93 ERA (148.2IP, 170H, 84R, 65ER, 43BB, 137K, 9HR) in 27 starts with Double-A Erie in 2015, having surrendered 19 unearned runs during the season. Over his final eight starts of the year, he posted a 3-0 record with a 1.70 ERA (47.2IP, 42H, 9ER, 11BB, 49K, 1HR), .237 opponents’ BA and .636 opponents’ OPS.
Drafted by the Tigers in the 11th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Louisville, Green has a 15-18 career professional mark with a 3.55 ERA (299.1IP, 310H, 118ER, 77BB, 278K, 18HR) and 1 save in 62G/52GS over three minor league seasons (2013-15) in the Tigers organization.
Cessa has been placed on the Yankees’ 40-man roster, which remains at 39.