Despite hitting a winning home run Sunday, Victor Caratini appears headed for Triple-A Iowa.
The Cubs finalized a late-night deal with the Tigers that addresses the back end of their bullpen and backup catching before Monday’s 3 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.
The Cubs landed left-hander Justin Wilson and left-handed-hitting catcher Alex Avila from the Tigers, according to a source. They dealt infielder Jeimer Candelario, one of their top prospects who did not play Sunday night for Iowa, and Class A infielder Isaac Paredes.
The deal was finalized several hours after Caratini hit his first major-league home run in the seventh inning to propel the Cubs (56-48) to a 4-2 victory over the Brewers that extended their lead in the National League Central to 21/2 games.
Wilson, 29, has 13 saves in 15 chances with a 2.68 ERA and won’t be eligible for free agency until after 2018.
Wilson could serve as a setup man this season before taking over as closer for Wade Davis, who is eligible for free agency after this season.
Wilson gives manager Joe Maddon the late-inning versatility he craves. Right-handed batters are batting .131 against Wilson and left-handers .220.
Justin Grimm and Hector Rondon, who struggled earlier this year, retired all six batters they faced Sunday with Carl Edwards Jr., Pedro Strop and Koji Uehara unavailable because of their recent workloads.
Avila, 30, provides the Cubs an experienced left-handed-hitting catcher they have lacked since Miguel Montero was dealt to the Blue Jays.
Avila is batting .271 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs and has a career .350 on-base percentage over parts of nine seasons.
Avila is expected to occasionally spell Willson Contreras, who has played in 93 of the first 104 games.
Candelario is batting .266 with 12 home runs and 66 RBIs at Iowa, but his path to the majors is blocked by third baseman Kris Bryant and first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
The moves fortify President Theo Epstein’s attempt to shore up any shortcomings in attempt to win their second consecutive division title and bolster the roster for the postseason.
“We’re confident with what we have, and we’re confident in the front office,” Rizzo said. “If they’re going to do something, it’s going to help us.”
Caratini, 23, looked polished as he hit his first major-league homer and played flawlessly in his first start at first base in place of Rizzo, who was sidelined because of back soreness.
“I’m going to keep going about my business and do what I can to stay there,” Caratini said. “It’s out of my control what they’re thinking.”
Rizzo likes Caratini’s willingness to learn without being too vocal.
“He’s been nice for us and has learned a lot fast,” Rizzo said.
The Cubs will have dealt three of their top prospects — Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease and Candelario — in the past 21/2 weeks to acquire left-hander Jose Quintana, Wilson and Avila.
But Epstein is serious about competing for World Series titles for multiple seasons while replenishing the farm system along the way.
Quintana has fortified the rotation and invigorated the clubhouse, according to Kris Bryant, who hit his 20th homer in the eighth.
The Cubs likely will wait until this winter to put more resources into a cost-controlled starter. John Lackey pitched six innings of five-hit ball to preserve most of a fatigued bullpen.
“We always knew there was talent,” Lackey said of the Cubs’ 13-3 run in the second half. “It’s a matter of guys feeling good and playing baseball together. I think We’ve done a good job of that.”