Just a few days after the Chicago Cubs reportedly checked in on Detroit Tigers starter Justin Verlander, a report surfaced today stating that the Cubbies are no longer interested in JV. Apparently they have a couple other Detroit starters in their cross hairs, and one of them is quite surprising.
According to an article written by Peter Gammons, the Cubs have asked about the availability of starters Daniel Norris and Michael Fulmer. The article states that “they (the Cubs) asked the Tigers about Fulmer and Norris, but made it clear that they had no interest in Verlander.” One official also stated that “no one is going to pay $70 million for him (Verlander), even though he may still be a very good pitcher.”
Although it’s to be expected that a lot of different names will be mentioned in rumors as the Tigers continue to struggle, Fulmer’s name being included in such rumors is a bit surprising. Acquired in the 2015 trade for Yoenis Cespedes, Fulmer won the American League Rookie of the Year award with the Tigers in 2016. He is also one of the team’s two All-Star selections this season (along with Justin Upton).
The only bright spot in Detroit’s starting rotation this year, Fulmer is currently sporting a 9-6 record, with a 3.19 ERA. He is in the final year of his current contract, but is under team control next season, before four years of arbitration negotiations.
Norris, who was acquired when Detroit shipped David Price to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015, hasn’t exactly taken the next step that many figured he would take this season. He currently holds a record of 4-7 with a 5.29 ERA. His contract situation is similar to that of Fulmer’s, but he only has three years of arbitration negotiations and can become an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
At this point, it seems unlikely that a Tigers team on the brink of a rebuild would trade one of the brightest young pitchers in baseball away. Unforgivable, even. The inclusion of Fulmer’s name in any conversation should be a complete conversation stopper. Norris however, may be a bit more attainable. Although the team had high hopes for him when acquired, and still does for that matter, he is much more likely to be had for the right price than Fulmer.
There have been no official reports regarding what the Cubs would be willing to move in return for any of these players, or what the exact asking price would be for Detroit.
As the speculation begins to heat up while the July 31st trade deadline approaches, keep in mind that the rumors are going to run rampant. It’s still quite likely that other teams will check in on big time players such as Verlander, and most certain that other names will pop up as well. But there is one thing that I believe we can all agree on: Michael Fulmer’s name has no business in said rumors.