Baltimore Orioles: Dan Duquette should pursue pitcher Michael Fulmer
As the Baltimore Orioles are in dire need of good pitching, Dan Duquette should consider more than just the free agents.
To do this, the Baltimore Orioles should talk to teams that are in rebuild mode, like the Detroit Tigers.
In fact, they should talk to the Tigers about making a trade for their young ace pitcher, Michael Fulmer. The young right-handed pitcher was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2016 and he continued his dominance on the mound until he was sidelined with ulnar nerve issues. He had surgery to resolve the problem and should be back to normal for the 2018 season. His surgery was not Tommy John surgery.
What it would take to get Fulmer
According to a post by MLB.com’s Jason Beck, “General manager Al Avila has never completely ruled out a Fulmer trade. If he could get two Fulmers for one, as he put it, he would have to consider it.”
The Orioles may not have a fully stocked farm system, but they do have some pieces to trade. Fulmer would be an affordable addition to the team as he is still making the league minimum. As the Tigers are in full rebuild mode, a few good prospects should do the trick.
Like the Sale trade
Beck compares the idea of trading Fulmer to the Chicago White Sox trading Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox. No one expected it to happen, but it spurred a massive change. The Tigers have already traded away nearly every veteran on the squad who still has value. Only a handful remain like Miguel Cabrera and Jordan Zimmermann – but their outrageous contracts do not represent their current value.
Fulmer’s numbers are solid
Fulmer’s stats are plain old good. He has a nasty changeup that ties up most batters and his sinker is practically unhittable. His fastball reaches speeds in the mid-90s and his changeup is in the upper-80s. I’ve seen him pitch a handful of times and he is for real, pitching with significantly more composure than a 24-year-old should (and he was 23 when he won the ROY). His career ERA is 3.45 and his WHIP is 1.137. He has a WAR of 8.4 after two seasons of MLB pitching.
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The Tigers need pitching, too. Although, as a rebuilding team, they don’t need the same type of pitching that the O’s need. Michael Fulmer’s talent would be wasted during the rebuild years that Detroit will face. If the O’s are going to go for it and attempt to capitalize on the pre-free-agency seasons of Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and Zach Britton, then they should go for a pitcher like Fulmer.
In November, the O’s signed a plethora of pitchers to the minor leagues. Baseball America just released their list of top prospects in the Birdland farm system. If Duquette wants a pitcher like Fulmer, he would have to give up some valuable prospects. But, for a proven pitcher like Fulmer, it would be worth it. Duquette might have to give up a top prospect like David Hess in Triple-A, Hunter Harvey in Double-A, or Cody Sedlock in SIngle-A. Duquette might even be able to throw in Asher Wojciechowski, who is 29 years old and has spent time pitching in the Majors.
Next: Orioles will not be rebuilding in 2018
An expertly crafted package could net the O’s a proven starter. Since the two teams have very different goals in the next few years, a trade of this magnitude could happen. But, don’t hold your breath.