New details about a trade package the Yankees made to the Tigers for former Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer have been leaked. According to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Yankees made an offer to the Tigers that included outfielder Clint Frazier, infielders Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada, and some pitchers that have yet to reach the majors, but the offer was rejected by Tigers general manager Al Avila.
Assuming the pitchers without MLB experience were Chance Adams and another promising pitching prospect, this is a somewhat reasonable offer to make for a young, controllable, and cheap starter like Fulmer, but is also not attractive enough to seal the deal. According to multiple sources, the Yankees have been unwilling to discuss their best prospect, infielder Gleyber Torres, in any trade talks. This is likely a deal breaker for many teams entertaining trade offers for their starting pitching talent. Torres is arguably the top prospect in all of baseball right now and an enviable talent to possess for both the Yankees and potential trade partners. For a team like the Tigers entering a serious rebuild, holding out for this level of talent is certainly the right thing to do.
That said, the offer that was made and rejected is far from insulting. Clint Frazier, acquired from Cleveland for Andrew Miller is a former top-50 prospect and an attractive outfielder that would be ideal to build around in Detroit. Chance Adams is a top-100 prospect as well, and likely to reach the majors in 2018 after excelling last year in Double-A and Triple-A. Tyler Wade is a versatile high contact, low power infielder with speed that has hit over .300 in his career in the minors after being drafted in 2013. Estrada spent 2017 in Double-A and has a similar profile to Wade but with more power and less speed. If the Yankees were to include another pitching prospect like Albert Abreu or Jorge Guzman, it’s a tempting offer that would fill many positions of need for the Tigers and give them solid talent to build on.
But if we’re talking about a young ace like Fulmer, the Tigers need to hold out for top star talent. The Tigers will be looking to build and find the next core of a contending team and simply getting a few useful major league pieces is not good enough. They need to draft and trade for stars, especially when their biggest trade chip is of the level of star they seek. And in this case, Avila was right to turn down this offer. If the Yankees desire Fulmer, they will need to part with Torres.