With left-hander Zach Britton having come off the free-agent market Saturday, Justin Wilson is arguably the most desirable southpaw reliever available. Interest in Wilson is high, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports six to seven teams are vying for him.
The Mets are the only known team who have eyed Wilson, a 31-year-old who has been largely effective since he cracked the majors with the Pirates in 2012. Also a former Yankee, Tiger and Cub, Wilson has tossed upward of 50 innings in each of his six full big league seasons, and has notched a 3.33 ERA/3.30 FIP with 9.88 K/9, 4.03 BB/9 and a 46.4 percent groundball rate. Along the way, Wilson has been useful against both left- and right-handed hitters, having held the former to a .239/.319/.345 line and the latter to an even worse mark (.210/.305/.323).
Unfortunately for Wilson, he hit the market at a somewhat inopportune time, as he wasn’t at top form over the previous two seasons. While Wilson prevented runs at a solid clip (3.43 ERA/3.51 FIP in 112 2/3 frames) and struck out hitters at an even more impressive rate (11.9 per nine), his control and groundball numbers took significant steps backward. Wilson walked 5.43 batters per nine in each of those seasons and, after generating grounders 54.9 percent of the time in 2016, fell into the mid-30s from 2017-18. Still, though, the hard-throwing Wilson has seldom been prone to the home run ball, and he has limited damaging contact by posting a double-digit infield fly percentage in each of his seasons.