MINNEAPOLIS — The Detroit Tigers traded right-handed reliever Michael Fulmer to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, ahead of the 6 pm trade deadline.
The 29-year-old is on an expiring contract, meaning he will become a free agent after the 2022 season. Fulmer, the longest-tenured Tiger besides Miguel Cabrera, has posted a 3.20 ERA, 20 walks and 39 strikeouts over 39⅓ innings in 41 games in 2022.
In return, the Tigers received right-handed pitching prospect Sawyer Gipson-Long.
SEASON FROM HELL: Tigers weren’t supposed to be sellers at MLB trade deadline. Here’s how it all went wrong.”There were several teams looking for relievers,” general manager Al Avila said Tuesday. “The market was flooded with relievers. There were more relievers than buyers this time around. (The Twins) were a team that came in a little bit later. We had them on the board this week, with other clubs. It came down to the last day.”
The 24-year-old was a sixth-round pick in 2019 by the Twins. Between High-A and Double-A this season, Gipson-Long has a 4.23 ERA and a 1.122 WHIP over 18 games (17 starts). He is not listed among the Twins’ top 30 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline.
“We think that in picking up Gibson, we have a pitcher there that we feel good about,” Avila said. “He’s a starter at Double-A right now. We all think we have a good mix of pitches where he has a chance to stay as a starter. We’re projecting him probably to go to Toledo next year and be a guy that we can count on at the big-league level at some point.”
Fulmer, a six-year MLB veteran, transitioned from a starting pitcher to a relief pitcher in 2021 spring training, and over the past two seasons, he has a 3.05 ERA and 16 saves with 3.3 walks per nine innings and 9.3 strikeouts per nine.
His walk rate has gotten worse, from 6.7% in 2021 to 12.2% in 2022.
“Whatever they have on the business side of things, I’ve got no hard feelings whatsoever,” Fulmer said in late July. “I know this game is a business, and whatever this front office and organization sees fit as being the best move forward, I’m on board.”
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Fulmer won American League Rookie of the Year in 2016 and made his first and only All-Star Game in 2017. The Tigers acquired Fulmer (and Luis Cessa) from the New York Mets at the 2015 trade deadline in exchange outfielder Yoenis Céspedes.
In April 2016, Fulmer made his MLB debut.
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