Between a down year in 2018 and then Tommy John surgery in March 2019, Michael Fulmer has fallen off the radar for many fans outside of the Motor City. Yet it wasn’t long ago that Fulmer was one the most sought-after trade chips in baseball, hotly pursued by multiple teams in the aftermath of a Rookie Of The Year season in 2016, and a strong sophomore year that saw him post a 3.83 ERA, 2.85 K/BB rate, and 6.2 K/9 over 164 2/3 innings in 2017, though Fulmer’s year was cut short by elbow surgery.
Nonetheless, the Tigers received some sizeable offers for his services, and according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, these offers included two blockbusters for future All-Stars. The Tigers reportedly declined a three-player package from the Cubs that would have seen Javier Baez head to Detroit in exchange for Fulmer, while the Astros were willing to give up Alex Bregman for both Fulmer and left-hander Justin Wilson.
If you have post-Lolla Monday scaries, they don’t come close to comparing what Tigers GM Al Avila is going through right now. He probably protected this info like the dadgum nuclear football codes, but low and behold he wakes up today only to (probably) be public enemy number 1 in Detroit right now.
Michael Fulmer was one of the hot topics in MLB for a quick minute. A big, burly dude that figured to be a 200+IP/ year work horse that painted corners with 4 different pitches. AKA every big league organizations dream. Rookie of the year, projectable, yada yada.
But…. then baseball happened. And by baseball I mean unpredictability. And by unpredictability I mean since 2016, Fulmer has put up these numbers:
Yeah…. that’s awful. People say wins and losses don’t matter for pitchers, but I *kinda* disagree. Over a large enough sample size, if you are winning a lot of baseball games, that means you’re pitching well enough to keep your team in most games. If you’re losing a lot of games, you’re probably pitching pretty shitty. Now ~30 games isn’t a huge sample, but to go 3-16 over that stretch is dog shit. And his other stats, both standard and advanced, are dog shit too.
And that’s the pitcher both the Astros and the Cubs would have had to deal with should they have dealt for him in packages surrounding Bregman and Baez. Goddamn, Theo and Luhnow are probably laughing their asses off every day thinking about this.
I mean they tried dealing two perennial MVP candidates for a pitcher who doesn’t even pitch. Jesus Christ. And from a Sox fan perspective, it would NOT have been fun dealing with either Javy or Bregman 19x a year.
So yeah. Sometimes the best move you make is the one you don’t make. Other times it’s the move you do make. Like…. I wish this would have happened in the Shields/ Tatis, Jr. trade. Just AJ Preller telling Hahn to fuck off.
So while Fulmer is on the shelf recovering from TJS, here are a few highlight reels of Bregman and Baez to help get Al Avila through the day: