By: Will Burchfield
Michael Fulmer’s name continues to pop up at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, most recently in connection to the Yankees.
The Yankees, who are looking to trade for a starting pitcher, have Fulmer on their radar, per Bob Nightengale.
Fulmer is easily the Tigers’ most valuable asset. The 24-year-old righty won AL Rookie of the Year in 2016, was an All-Star in 2017 and is under team control through 2022. Tigers GM Al Avila is by no means shopping Fulmer, but anyone can be had for the right price.
“We do know there are some teams with a more desirable farm system that could make it happen if they were really aggressive,” Avila told reporters on Monday, via MLive.com. “There are a few teams out there, if they really wanted to be aggressive, that have the players to do it.”
The Yankees certainly fit the bill. They have five top-100 prospects, per MLB.com, including the No. 2 overall in infielder Gleyber Torres. Should the Yankees make Torres available, it’s likely the Tigers would listen.
Still, Avila’s preference is to keep Fulmer. He’s a foundational piece of the team’s fledgling rebuild.
“We’re not proactively trying to trade him. There’s teams out there that have interest. But if I have something and you want it, then tell me what you offer. I’m not going to tell you what I want because I really don’t want to do it,” Avila said.
As of Monday night, the Tigers had only received “mild inquiries,” according to Avila.
Fulmer’s name first surfaced in trade rumors in July. Avila’s stance then was the same as it is now: The Tigers aren’t interested in dealing him, but it doesn’t mean they won’t listen.
In 22 starts last season, Fulmer went 10-12 with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. He led the AL with 0.7 HR/9.
One thing to consider in regard to his trade value is that he underwent elbow surgery in September to treat ulnar neuritis in his throwing arm. He’s expected to be ready for spring training, but it will give teams pause nonetheless.