The Tigers have avoided arbitration with right-hander Michael Fulmer, per a team announcement. He’ll earn $3.1MM in 2021, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. That sum falls in line with MLBTR’s projection of $2.8MM to $3.2MM.
This agreement comes in the wake of a nightmarish season for Fulmer, who managed an 8.78 ERA/5.58 SIERA over 27 2/3 innings in his first action since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2019. The 27-year-old also posted personal worsts in average fastball velocity (93.1 mph, down from 95-plus in prior seasons), strikeout percentage (14.7), walk percentage (8.8), groundball rate (8.8) and home runs per nine (2.6).
Last season was the second straight rocky campaign for Fulmer, who logged subpar production by his previous standards during an injury-limited campaign in 2018. Before that, he was one of the game’s most coveted young starters from 2016-17, as he took home AL Rookie of the Year honors in his debut and continued recording quality numbers as a sophomore.
Fulmer frequently came up in trade talks with teams seeking a controllable and high-end starter during his first couple years, but the Tigers never found an offer to their liking. Now, with Fulmer’s trade value at an all-time low, the Tigers are left to hope that he will bounce back to respectability in 2021 – his second-last year of arbitration eligibility.