As the Baseball Winter Meetings get underway in Orlando, a bevy of trade rumors will be swirling around the lobby of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort as teams’ jockey for position for roster improvements. The Phillies are going to be on the hunt for complimentary free agents to pair with their young developing roster and could also be looking around the league for trade partners to improve their standing.
Some teams around the league could be looking to rebuild and have expendable pieces in their front end of the rotation starters. The Phillies will certainly be interested in any number of big name starters such as Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole. However, there could also be teams that move on from young established starters in order to continue to rebuild and bolster their minor league system.
The Detroit Tigers come to mind as they began to blow up their roster last year and collected a few key prospects. Starting pitcher Michael Fulmer would be very difficult to pry away, but the prospect disparity in the organization could be enough to trade the young all-star pitcher. At 24 years old, Fulmer was an All-Star in 2017 and Rookie of the Year in the American League in 2016.
Pairing Fulmer with Aaron Nola would create a great one-two punch at the front of the Phillies rotation. Fulmer is under team control for the next two years before he becomes arbitration eligible and is not eligible for free agency until 2023. This would be great for the Phillies as they could have two front-end pitchers providing great surplus value.
To acquire Fulmer, it would take a MASSIVE prospect package, but Detroit seems to have everyone on their roster up for trade talks at the right price. A similar trade to compare this to would be the Ken Giles trade made by the Phillies in December of 2015.
The Astros needed a star player in their back-end of the bullpen, and the Phillies had a young controllable pitcher who was becoming a very solid major league closer. The package for Giles was large (due in part mainly to his team friendly contract) and any potential trade for Fulmer would be just as large if not larger.
The Phillies are one of the few teams in Major League Baseball that could pull this move off for Fulmer. They have one of the best farm systems already in place whereas Detroit has just started to acquire more talented players to develop this past season. Philadelphia could offer any number young bats from the minors since Detroit’s system is lacking talented batters and fielders.
With that being said, it would probably take a multi-prospect deal with at least a blue-chip prospect involved for Detroit to part with Fulmer. Names like Mickey Moniak, Adam Haseley, or Franklyn Kilome could become the centerpiece of the deal. While other top batting prospects such as Dylan Cozens, Roman Quinn, and Cole Stobbe could be the mix as well.
Fulmer would not only make an impact this season but down the road as well. Having him in tandem with Nola and the rest of the young core would make for an attractive free agent destination in 2018 for what is considered a star-studded class.
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