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Yankees potential trade target: Michael Fulmer

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The Yankees have been scouting the Tigers pitcher, but would a trade make sense?

MLB: Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Today we continue our quest to explore every possible pitching trade target out there. After recently being forced to demote Domingo German, it is obvious that the Yankees need pitching help. They might need even more reinforcements if the rumors about New York looking to flip Sonny Gray are true. One of the many starting pitchers that the Yankees have been connected to over the past few weeks is Michael Fulmer. Would a trade with the Tigers make sense?

Fulmer, 25, made his debut in 2016 and went on to have a stellar season. With a 3.06 ERA (3.76 FIP) and 1.16 WHIP over 159 innings, he easily ran away with the Rookie of the Year award. He didn’t pitch to quite the same level last year, but still finished the season with a respectable 3.83 ERA through 25 starts. His year was cut short due to ulnar nerve transposition surgery.

2018 has been up and down—but mostly down—for Fulmer so far. After a solid April, he was lit up in May. The right-hander gave up a whopping 22 earned runs across 31.1 innings. His walk rate ballooned to 4.88 BB/9, and he surrendered 1.44 HR/9. He had a couple of decent outings in June, but just couldn’t find a way to right the ship. Fulmer gave up 19 earned runs over his last five starts, and opponents are batting .310 against him in July.

The way his season is going, he wouldn’t represent much of an upgrade over Gray or German/Luis Cessa. He also happens to be on the disabled list with a left oblique strain at the moment, and it is unclear how much time he will miss. The one thing Fulmer really has going for him—unlike most of the other available pitchers—is that he won’t be a free agent until 2023.

Over the past few weeks, the Yankees have sent scouts to watch Fulmer pitch. The Tigers returned the favor by sending scouts to one of the Yankees-Indians game the weekend before the All-Star break. At the time, it was reported that Detroit was interested in Clint Frazier and Tyler Wade.

Since then, Frazier landed on the disabled list with concussion symptoms. His injury is particularly concerning given that he already missed two months while recovering from a concussion that he suffered during spring training. The injury will likely keep his name out of any potential trade discussions.

Would you like to see the Yankees make a deal with the Tigers for Fulmer, or should they look elsewhere for starting pitching help? Let us know in the comment section.