With Brandon Inge appearing to have been given the starting job at Third Base, the Tigers were in need of a backup Catcher, to occasionally rest their future Hall of Famer, Ivan Rodriguez. On Thursday, the Tigers made a move to add that player; Vance Wilson.
The 31-year old Wilson has spent all 5 of his big league seasons in New York (four with the Mets and one with the Yankees). He came up in the Mets' system, after originally being drafted by them in the 44th round of the 1993 amateur draft.
In 2004, Wilson appeared in 79 games, hitting .274 in 157 at bats. Wilson also had 4 Home Runs, 10 doubles and drove in 21 runs.
Wilson's offensive numbers are respectable, but Wilson makes his living with his glove, as he's an excellent defensive catcher. Wilson was used often as late inning defensive replacement in his career, and has been known to hold opposing baserunners and keep them from stealing.
In '04, Wilson threw out 34% of opposing baserunners. That number is respectable, but it would be considered a down year for him, as for his career he's thrown out over 44% that have tried to steal on him.
In exchange for Wilson, the Tigers gave up minor league Shortstop Anderson Hernandez. Hernandez, who was ranked #37 on TigsTown's Top 50 Prospects, is considered an excellent defensive player, but doesn't possess a strong bat.
The now 22-year old Hernandez finally was able to pick his average up in 2004, hitting .283 between high-A Lakeland and AA Erie. Hernandez also picked up his power hitting a bit, including 25 doubles and 6 triples. While Hernandez still holds potential, he projects to be someone more along the lines of a utility Infielder at the big league level, especially given his excellent glove work at Shortstop.
To make room on the 40-man roster, Outfielder Alexis Gomez was designated for assignment. Gomez had been claimed off waivers from the Kansas City Royals shortly after the close of the regular season.