Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press examines the aftermath of a brutal season for Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer. The results are hard to deny. As Fenech puts it, Fulmer has gone “from being the most important trade piece of the Tigers’ rebuild … to a missed opportunity.” Of course, there were reasons that the team elected not to move off of the big price tag it placed on the young hurler, as Fenech explores while noting it’d be unfair to use hindsight to say the Tigers “should” have traded Fulmer sooner. As things stand, it seems the Detroit organization will pay Fulmer his arbitration salary for 2019 (as a Super Two) and hope he can regain his standing. After all, he’s still controlled for four full seasons, and a vintage first half or even a strong full season would likely serve to quickly rebuild some of Fulmer’s stock.
Elsewhere in the AL Central…
- Jake Depue of 1500 ESPN takes a look at some of the 40-man roster decisions the Twins will have to make in advance of the Rule 5 Draft this offseason. Nick Gordon stands out at the most obvious minor leaguer in need of protection, but the Twins will also need to clear roster space for names like outfielder LaMonte Wade, infielder Luis Arraez and relievers Jake Reed and Tyler Jay, among others. However, with four free agents (Ervin Santana, Logan Forsythe, Matt Belisle, Chris Gimenez) and several non-tender/outright candidates on the fringes of the roster at present, Minnesota should have a fair bit of flexibility as that early offseason deadline approaches.
- Both Adalberto Mondesi and Ryan O’Hearn have been impressing with the Royals lately, Jesse Newell of the Kansas City Star writes. Mondesi, in particular, is the focus of the column, with manager Ned Yost and quality control coach Pedro Grifol (via Yost) weighing in on the improvements in the second-generation infielder’s improvements. “I just think he’s really, really talented,” Yost said of Mondesi, noting that the organization is pleased and feels he’s improved in “all phases of his game.” Mondesi has indeed been a bright spot in a bleak Kansas City season — MLBTR’s Jeff Todd just recently listed him as the primary silver lining for the Royals — as he’s shown a promising blend of speed, power and defense. Mondesi, who homered again tonight, is now hitting .290/.316/.496 with 11 homers, 26 steals and quality defensive marks at both shortstop (+2 DRS, +2 UZR) and second base (+3 DRS, +1.7 UZR). O’Hearn may not have garnered as much attention, but the 25-year-old first baseman is sporting a ridiculous .272/.372/.632 slash and 11 homers through his first 145 MLB plate appearances (albeit while showing some enormous platoon splits in that small sample).