How Fulmer to Yankees Could Be Win-Win For Yanks, Tigers


The Detroit Tigers are in the midst of a massive rebuild, and as I mentioned in my Winter Meetings Predictions, they still contain a few trade chips. Right-handed pitcher Michael Fulmer doesn’t seem like an ideal trade chip for a rebuilding franchise, but he is one of the few, if not the only player the Tigers have that could guarantee a beneficial return and help further the rebuilding process.

The New York Yankees went into the Winter Meetings looking to acquire a starter or two after landing Giancarlo Stanton to form a mega outfield with young phenom Aaron Judge. They didn’t get said starter at the meetings, but did go on to re-sign C.C. Sabathia on Saturday. With talks of the Bombers still eyeing either the aforementioned Fulmer or Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole, they may not be done with the attempt to improve their rotation.

As you can see from the title, this piece will focus on Fulmer to the Yankees. Here’s the trade I have thought up:

New York Yankees acquire RHPs Michael Fulmer and Jordan Zimmermann from Detroit Tigers in exchange for OFs Clint Fraizer and Jacoby Ellsbury, LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP Juan Then, and C Saul Torres

Why The Yankees Do It:

The Yankees and their fans may find this price pretty steep for Fulmer, despite his potential, especially with Zimmermann involved. However, this trade gives them a potential future ace, as well as a bounce-back candidate you could work out of the bullpen and utilize as a spot starter. The Yanks would boast a rotation that would contain Fulmer, Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, and Sonny Gray. The contract of Zimmerman’s is hard to swallow, but with Ellsbury gone, it might just be worth it.

The Yankees outfield is blocked now, so Fraizer is somewhat expendable. Justus Sheffield is another top prospect the New York possesses, but that’s the price to pay when acquiring a high potential pitcher such as Fulmer.

As I mentioned, moving Ellsbury is another reason this works for New York. The fact that he’d get a chance to start in Detroit instead of being buried in that outfield should sway him to waive his current no-trade clause.

Why The Tigers Do It:

The Tigers don’t want to part with Fulmer, however, I’ve given them the following incentives:

  1. Acquiring two top prospects (Fraizer and Sheffield). Fraizer can start right away, while Sheffield adds to an impressive group of pitching prospects the Tigers have in Franklin Perez, Alex Faedo, Matt Manning, and Beau Burrows.
  2. Riding themselves of Jordan Zimmermann. They take in an extra year on Ellsbury, but shead $3M in 2018, and $4M in 2019-20. Zimmerman has a full no-trade clause this year, but a change of scenery with a fresh start should sway him to waive it.
  3. Ellsbury is a bit of a stopgap in the outfield, while Daz Cameron and Christian Stewart develop. He’s an expensive stopgap, yes, but he’s one that can rebuild his value in Detroit and be flipped with retained salary, a situation akin to the Justin Verlander situation. Verlander struggled a bit before regaining his form in 2016, coming close to winning the AL Cy Young Award. He began to struggle in 2017 before rebounding and being traded in exchange for Cameron, Perez, and Jake Rogers.

This trade will require a lot of work to be completed, however, it’s a move that could pay huge dividends for both teams.

Photo Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press

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