-- CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have acquired Detroit Tigers closer Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila in exchange for minor league infielders Jeimer Candelario and Isaac Paredes, according to a source familiar with the situation. The Cubs will be sending Detroit a player to be named later or cash as part of the trade as well.
Wilson, who turns 30 next month, bolsters a bullpen that has struggled after the All-Star break but had a great weekend in a series win over the? Milwaukee Brewers. Wilson will slot in before Cubs closer Wade Davis, as his ability to get out lefties and righties throughout the order was attractive.
"Any time you can get a really good, neutral relief pitcher it helps a lot," manager Joe Maddon said before Sunday's win over the Brewers. "Then you don't have to warm guys up and not use them."
Wilson has compiled a 2.68 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 3.44 strikeout-to-walk ratio (55-16) in 41 appearances for the Tigers this season. He is 13-for-15 in save opportunities after taking over the closer role from struggling Francisco Rodriguez in early May.
Wilson joins lefties Brian Duensing and Mike Montgomery in the Cubs' bullpen. Chicago opened a 2?-game lead on the Brewers in the NL Central after winning two of three against them.
The trio of lefties also helps in anticipation of a potential first-round playoff matchup with the Washington Nationals, who feature dangerous lefty hitters Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy. Wilson has a career .658 OPS versus left-handed hitters and a .606 mark against righties.
The addition of Avila plugs a hole left when the Cubs traded veteran catcher Miguel Montero to the Toronto Blue Jays after he publicly criticized a teammate. Montero was replaced by rookie Victor Caratini, who homered to win the game Sunday, but the team wanted a more veteran presence for the stretch run, hence the addition of Avila.
Avila, the son of Tigers general manager Al Avila, has played all but one of his nine major league seasons in Detroit. He is batting .274 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs.
Candelario, 23, is a corner, switch-hitting infielder who was blocked at the major league level by Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. Paredes, 18, is a Class-A shortstop.
During the All-Star break, the Cubs acquired lefty starter Jose Quintana for the top two prospects in their system, and they now have added a lefty reliever and lefty-hitting catcher.