The Los Angeles Dodgers are interested in acquiring a number of very good baseball players at this year’s trade deadline. One of those very good baseball players is Detroit Tigers righthander Michael Fulmer, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. While Fulmer is likely one of many players on their wish list, he was mentioned second to only Manny Machado in Nightengale’s tweet.
But unless the Dodgers are prepared to offer a substantial prospect package, don’t expect this deal to get done. The Tigers never got all that close to dealing Fulmer to the New York Yankees when they came calling last winter, presumably because Gleyber Torres was off limits. The Tigers will likely hold the same attitude this July, and demand an absurd return for their staff ace.
Frankly, I’m okay with that. The Tigers could stand to bolster their prospect depth, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of young, cost-controlled talent. Fulmer is still only 25 years old and won’t reach free agency until after the 2022 season. He has struggled at times this year, but he currently has the highest whiff rate of his career, and has shown a strikeout touch at times that wasn’t present in 2016 or 2017 (unfortunately, that also came with more walks than usual).
The Dodgers certainly have the prospect depth to make a Fulmer deal happen, but there aren’t any real high-end prospects left in their system. The Tigers should be looking for one or two impact pieces in a potential Fulmer trade — their insistence on receiving Gleyber Torres last winter, for example — and the Dodgers don’t have any prospects like that left in their system. They certainly won’t be dealing from their major league depth, so don’t hold your breath for Walker Buehler (who is injured right now anyway).
Expect Fulmer’s name to come up a lot over the next few weeks. We’ve reached trade rumor silly season, and just about anyone that needs a starting pitcher will likely kick the tires on Fulmer. Just don’t expect him to go anywhere. Fulmer’s value isn’t quite at its peak given his performance this year, and teams don’t seem willing to pay Detroit’s astronomical asking price for their budding young ace.
But hey, Dodgers, can we interest you in a slightly used Mike Fiers?