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Michael Fulmer loses his arbitration case

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The Tigers came away the winners of their first arbitration hearing in almost two decades.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Since 2001, the Detroit Tigers had avoided going to an arbitration hearing with any of their players. That streak finally ended with Michael Fulmer. In his first year of arbitration eligibility, the 25-year-old righthander and the Tigers could not come to an agreement. Both sides pleaded their case on Wednesday, and things didn’t turn out as Fulmer had hoped.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that Fulmer will receive $2.8 million for the 2019 season. That number is $600,000 lower than his asking price. It’s a somewhat surprising result considering that a host of young players, including Trevor Bauer and Carlos Correa, recently won their own cases by fairly substantial margins.

While Fulmer didn’t come away with the amount he had hoped, he has consistently taken a business-like approach to the process. Fulmer even went so far as to carpool to the hearing with Tigers officials. It doesn’t appear that there will be any lingering bad feelings here.

That isn’t always the case. Despite winning his arbitration hearing, Bauer and the Cleveland Indians’ relationship appears quite strained by the process. Bauer accused the Indians of character assassination, and was highly critical of the team’s front office for declining his invitation to the hearing. Such conflict and hard feelings aren’t so unusual in contract negotiations, so it’s good to see that the Tigers and Fulmer don’t seem to letting business poison their relationship.

But that’s not always the case. Just ask former Tigers first baseman Sean Casey.