The Tigers announced this afternoon that they have placed starter Michael Fulmer on the 10-day disabled list. He’s said to be dealing with a left oblique strain.
It’s a surprising placement, as Fulmer had seemingly been on track to remain in the rotation heading out of the All-Star break. Details on the injury are not yet available. Reliever Victor Alcantara will take the open roster spot.
Of particular note, it’s now quite difficult to imagine Fulmer as a summer trade candidate. That may not have been in the cards regardless, but the possibility had at least been intriguing to consider. Fulmer was one of several quality, controllable starters who we rated among the 75 top trade deadline candidates.
Fulmer, 25, has continued to see his results deteriorate after a sterling rookie campaign. Through 112 frames in 2018, he carries a 4.50 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 along with a 45.6% groundball rate. Still, Fulmer is throwing the same upper-nineties heat and getting the same range of swinging strikes (10.5%) as before. Though he has allowed more hard contact in prior seasons, Fulmer mostly seems like the same pitcher and would be of obvious interest to other organizations.
If there was any plausibility to a trade scenario, it came largely from the fact that this year’s starter rental market is not exactly loaded. Teams seeking quality starters, then, will surely at least inquire on pitchers of Fulmer’s ilk.
Affordability and future control make Fulmer an easy asset for the Tigers to hang onto, though perhaps he could appear in trade rumors again in the winter if he returns and throws well down the stretch. Fulmer is headed for arbitration at season’s end as a Super Two player. The absence will cost him in that process, though not significantly — if, at least, he’s able to return in reasonably short order.