The Red Sox have agreed to a minor league contract with veteran right-hander Michael Fulmer, per the team’s transaction log at MLB.com. Fulmer isn’t expected to pitch in 2024 after undergoing a UCL revision in his right elbow back in October. As such, it’s a two-year minor league pact, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com. Presumably, that’ll come with a 2025 spring training invite. The Red Sox didn’t formally announce Fulmer’s deal, but they did make their previously known minor league pact with Dalton Guthrie official, adding that he’s been invited to big league camp this spring. The Sox also announced minor league deals with non-roster invites to camp for infielder Joe Dunand and righty Melvin Adon.
Of the names in question, Fulmer is the most recognizable. Now 30 years old (31 in March), Fulmer was the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year with the Tigers when he pitched 159 innings of 3.06 ERA ball out of the Detroit rotation. A solid followup season in 2017 looked to have entrenched Fulmer on the starting staff in Detroit, but injuries have largely derailed that promising start to his big league tenure.
Since 2018, Fulmer has undergone ulnar nerve transposition surgery, meniscus surgery in his right knee, Tommy John surgery and now a revision of that originally ligament repair in his pitching elbow. That doesn’t include oblique, shoulder and back strains that have also sent him to the injured list for various stints over the past six years. Since pitching 323 2/3 innings of 3.45 ERA ball over his first two MLB seasons combined, Fulmer has pitched a total of just 350 1/3 MLB frames in the past six seasons.
Some of that is due to a 2021 move to the bullpen. Fulmer looked to have found a second act in his career upon making that shift. He saved 14 games for the ’21 Tigers and from ’21-’23 pitched 190 1/3 frames of 3.55 ERA ball between the Tigers, Twins and Cubs. This latest procedure and another year lost to arm troubles again clouds his long-term outlook, although he’ll be just 32 years of age in 2025, so there’s still plenty of time for Fulmer to have a nice long run as a reliever if his arm can hold up. By virtue of this minimal-risk arrangement, the Red Sox will get to take the first look at his chances of doing so.
Turning to the 28-year-old Dunand, he made a brief MLB debut with the Marlins in 2022 (three games) but is best known as the nephew of Alex Rodriguez. Dunand went 3-for-10 with a homer and a double in his brief look with the Fish but has an uneven track record in Triple-A. The former second-round pick struggled greatly with the Marlins’ Triple-A club in 2021-22 before making some notable strides with the Braves organization in 2023. Dunand hit .268/.362/.481 (111 wRC+) with 17 homers in 403 Triple-A plate appearances last season, though his prior Triple-A struggles are reflected in a career .233/.325/.407 output at that level.
Dunand has played both positions on the left side of the infield extensively, though he’s appeared slightly more often at third base (1962 innings) than at shortstop (1810 innings). He’s also logged 506 innings at first base and made brief cameos in left field and at second base. He’s a right-handed bat who’ll give the Sox some depth at a variety of positions.
Adon, 29, has spent his entire professional career in the Giants organization prior to this signing. He ranked 17th or better among San Francisco prospects each year from 2017-19, per Baseball America, but has seen his stock fade due to persistent command troubles and recent injury woes (shoulder surgery, most notably).
Adon’s fastball has previously sat in the upper 90s and climbed as high as 102 mph, and scouting reports have touted a plus slider for him as well. Despite two plus offerings, he’s shown bottom-of-the-scale command in the upper minors, walking 13% of his Double-A opponents and more than 17% of his Triple-A opponents. He’s also plunked 25 hitters and thrown a whopping 67 wild pitches in just 457 professional innings. Adon has above-average strikeout rates in Double-A and Triple-A, but not to the extent one might expect based on the quality of his raw pitches.