Why Michael Fulmer trade talks are just a bunch of hot air

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers
Apr 12, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer (32) pitches in the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The news came down yesterday that the Chicago Cubs were no longer interested in Justin Verlander, but were interested in listening to offers involving Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris. When I read that I thought, “Theo Epstein, of course, you want to listen in on deals for Michael Fulmer, who the hell wouldn’t? Nice try pal.” Now, everyone keeps talking about trading Michael Fulmer.

Let me be very clear, there is only one way that I see a trade going down with the Cubs for Michael Fulmer:

Tigers send: Michael Fulmer and Jordan Zimmermann (Cubs pay entire contract) along with Stephen Moya

Cubs send: Ian Happ, Javy Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Dylan Cease (RHP #2 prospect), Oscar De La Cruz (RHP #4 prospect), Trevor Clifton (RHP #6 prospect), and Jose Paulino (LHP #13 prospect). You can see these guys here.

 Sound ridiculous? That’s because it is.

Of course, people are going to “see if Fulmer’s available” because they would be stupid not to, just like GM Al Avila would be stupid to make him available unless he got a deal that he just couldn’t pass up–a la the one I just described. The problem is, no team in their right mind is going to do something like that, and thus Michael Fulmer remains a Tiger for the foreseeable future.

Aug 19, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer (32) pitches in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of who they move at the deadline, there is no denying the fact that people like Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris are the keys to a successful rebuild in Detroit, one that probably doesn’t need to take that long.

If the Tigers can move the right pieces at the deadline–J.D., Justin Wilson, Alex Avila, and maybe a bigger contract (unlikely)–then the rebuild we’re looking at is much shorter in duration than some might think. Those moves coupled with a core that is young (and under team control or arbitration for the next 2-4 years) gives the Tigers a good opportunity to compete in 2-3 years.

These rumors are silly and they should be laughed at by Mr. Avila. It’s common sense really: you don’t trade the young guy who has supplanted the face of your franchise as the ace on the staff in the second year of his career–that is special and would require a special return that other teams will not give up.

No one wants to see Fulmer go anywhere, he’s the promising future we’re looking forward to, and thankfully he’s made himself untouchable enough where we don’t have to worry about him going anywhere.

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