The Cubs officially announced Monday that they have agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Michael Fulmer on a one-year big-league contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it was previously reported that Fulmer will earn $4 million. In order to clear a roster spot right-handed pitcher Codi Heuer has been placed on the 60-day injured list as he rehabs Tommy John surgery from last March.
Fulmer, 29, owns a career 34-45 record with a 3.89 ERA and 17 saves in 204 major league games (89 starts) across six seasons with Detroit (2016-18, 2020-22) and Minnesota (2022). In 2016, he became the fifth player in Tigers history to be named the American League Rookie of the Year and earned 2017 AL All-Star honors. Those awards came when he was still a starter, but injuries and poor performance spurred a shift to the bullpen for most of the last two seasons.
With no set closer at this point, the Cubs may be looking at Fulmer to take at least a share of the 9th inning appearances this season. He has experience closing and has done an excellent job of limiting longballs as a reliever even though he doesn’t generate a lot of grounders. Fulmer also has nearly identical career splits, though they’ve varied wildly over the past two years (big reverse in ’21 and big standard in ’22).
The 26-year-old Heuer could also be in line for some high-leverage innings once he’s able to return. He is already throwing off the mound and appears to be ahead of the original projection of July, but he’s still got a long way to go before he’s ready for competitive appearances. He said Monday that he’ll start throwing breaking balls in his next bullpen and is still targeting mid-June for activation.