The Cincinnati Reds have acquired right-handed pitcher Luis Cessa and left-handed pitcher Justin Wilson from the New York Yankees in a trade. The Reds will be sending a player to be named later to complete the deal. Cincinnati also announced that pitchers Ashton Goudeau and Edgar García have been designated for assignment.
There’s a lot going on here, so let’s address this all player by player.
The 29-year-old is in his 6th season at the big league level. He’s currently posting the best ERA of his life with a 2.82 ERA through 38.1 innings this season with the Yankees. He’s allowed 31 hits, just two home runs, but he’s also walked 17 batters and struck out just 31. Cessa is a high-ish walk rate, low strikeout rate, big time ground ball pitcher. His current ground ball rate is 57%, which is 19th best among 162 qualified relievers in baseball this season.
Looking at his Statcast data for the season we can see that he’s among the best in the league when it comes to average exit velocity allowed (89% percentile), hard hit rate (92nd percentile), and he’s also quite strong in barrel rate allowed (83rd percentile). Guys make contact against him often enough, but they don’t seem to make good contact frequently.
Despite being a reliever he’s a 4-pitch guy. He throws his slider 60% of the time and throws it in the low-80’s. He will also throw both a 4-seam (93.5 MPH) and a 2-seam (92.8 MPH) fastball, and he’ll mix in a change up to left-handed hitters (he hasn’t thrown one to a righty all year).
Luis Cessa has had more success against left-handed hitters this year. He’s held lefties to a .161/.217/.304 line in 61 plate appearances against him. Right-handed hitters haven’t been good, though, posting a .256/.354/.302 line against him on the season.
He’s making $1,050,000 this season and is arbitration eligible in both 2022 and 2023 before he would become a free agent following that season.
For as good as Luis Cessa has been, Justin Wilson has struggled. After posting a 3.26 ERA for multiple teams in 204 games from 2017-2020, Wilson is currently sporting a 7.50 ERA for the Yankees in 21 games. He’s allowed five home runs in just 18.0 innings this season after suppressing the long ball for the rest of his career. The 33-year-old lefty has given up 18 hits and walked nine batters to go along with 15 strikeouts this season.
A part of the reason he could be struggling is that his velocity is down from last season. His fastball has dropped off 1.5 MPH. So has his cutter. The cutter is still getting good results with opponents hitting .125 against it (3-24 on the season when making contact and all three hits were singles). But opponents are crushing his fastball, hitting .333 and slugging .800 against the pitch. Perhaps going to a more cutter heavy approach, a Wade Miley like approach, could be very beneficial here. Currently he’s throwing his fastball 66% of the time and his cutter just 29% of the time. His slider rarely shows up – throwing it just 5% of the time.
He’s found more success against righties this year, but success probably isn’t the right word given that hitters are hitting .220/.316/.540 against him on the season. Lefties are posting a .318/.400/.545 line against him and he’s struck out just three of the 25 left-handed hitters he’s faced this season.
Wilson is currently making $2,850,000 this season. He has a $7.15M team option, or a $2.3M player option for the 2022 season. There is also a $1.15M buyout on the player option according to Baseball Reference.
Ashton Goudeau and Edgar García
Ashton Goudeau has been the Reds go-to from Triple-A when they need a warm body at the big league level since he was acquired in early May. He pitched in five games for the Reds and allowed four runs in 9.0 innings. Most of his time was spent in Triple-A Louisville with the Bats.
Edgar García just pitched on Tuesday night for Cincinnati against the Cubs. It didn’t go well as he allowed two solo home runs in the 9th inning and recorded just one out. His ERA with the big league club in five appearances was 16.62. Like Goudeau, much of his time this season was with the Triple-A Louisville Bats.
Updated on August 30th
The Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees have completed their trade from July that brought Cincinnati relievers Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson. Minor League pitcher Jason Parker was sent to the New York Yankees on August 30th as the player to be named later in the deal. For more information on Parker you can read about him here.