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Michael Fulmer trade rumors are happening again, so we should probably talk about them

Scouts are reportedly showing up to Fulmer’s starts to watch him, but no actual trade talks have happened.

Detroit Tigers v Texas Rangers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Remember last winter, when every other day was punctuated by another rumor that Michael Fulmer was going to be traded to a contender (usually the New York Yankees)? Well, it’s that time again. The Detroit Tigers are “prepared to engage in trade discussions” about their staff ace, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

The interest from other teams makes sense. Fulmer is young, under team control through the 2022 season, and really good at baseball. He had a 2.80 ERA in 35 13 innings entering Monday’s start against the Texas Rangers, and this includes a rough start against the Cleveland Indians back in April. As Vito Chirco noted at the Detroit Free Press, Fulmer has a 1.40 ERA in 32 13 frames against Not Cleveland this year.

Better yet, Fulmer is rediscovering his strikeout touch. He fanned just nine batters in his first three starts this season, but has notched 18 strikeouts in his last three (and seven more in his first five innings against Texas). Opponents are hitting .254 and slugging .324 in those three starts, in which Fulmer has a 1.89 ERA.

But unless teams start to step up their trade offers, a deal doesn’t make much sense for the Tigers. They’re still within striking distance of the division lead, as unlikely as that seems, and in Fulmer, have the kind of young, cost-controlled starter they hope to develop in their farm system. Nothing short of a franchise-changing haul would be an adequate return for a pitcher who could be the face of the next Tigers contender.

So far, there are zero indications that any teams are willing to part with more prospects than they were in December. We may hear more in the coming weeks, especially as teams get desperate to improve their rosters before the trade deadline, but don’t really have any new information to report.

But hey, everyone else is talking about it, so why not us?