There’s not much use in diving too deeply into this one, but there was something of a landmine hidden in a recent piece about the Tigers’ trade deadline gaffes over the past few years. As Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports, Detroit rebuffed offers for Michael Fulmer that would have netted them players who have since gone on to become some of the game’s biggest stars.
That the Tigers weren’t willing to deal Fulmer, a would-be staff ace who was named AL Rookie of the Year in 2016 and made the All-Star team the next year, isn’t all that surprising. But revisionist history sure is a mother, so Fulmer missing a chunk of 2018 with a knee injury and then blowing out his elbow this past spring makes things look a lot worse.
In what looms as the biggest mistake of their rebuilding process, the team rebuffed an offer for Fulmer involving two young players who are now among the best in baseball: According to multiple persons with knowledge of the talks, the Cubs offered shortstop Javier Baez [sic] as part of a three-player package and the Astros offered third baseman Alex Bregman for Fulmer and lefty reliever Justin Wilson.
The myriad alternate realities spawned from these deals are absolutely mind-numbing, especially when you try to think about a Cubs team that had an injured starter rather than The Most Exciting Man in Baseball. And what if the Astros had made the deal, which would have kept the Cubs from trading for Wilson?
Then maybe the Cubs do the deal to get Verlander and he becomes their ace, though that would also have prevented them from getting Cole Hamels. And that’s just tip-of-the-iceberg stuff, so I’m going to stop now while I still can. Besides, we don’t know how legit this info is and how serious talks may have gotten.
Anyway, the moral of the story is that it’s a good gosh-darn thing the Tigers said no and made themselves look dumb in retrospect rather than making the Cubs look really foolish. I mean, can you imagine how much crap the Cubs front office would have gotten had a Javy-for-Fulmer deal come to pass? You know what, though, let’s not even think about that.