It appears the Yankees have begun scouting potential trade targets in-person.
According to George King of the New York Post, the Yankees sent scout Jay Darnell to watch Detroit Tigers’ right-hander Michael Fulmer pitch against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park.
Yankee scout Jay Darnell watching Tiger pitcher Michael Fulmer today in Detroit
Fulmer completed eight innings and allowed four runs on nine hits while striking out five in a 4-2 loss. In 16 starts this season, he has a 3-7 record and 4.20 ERA.
Although the Yankees hadn’t revealed interest in Fulmer prior to Thursday’s game, it should come as no surprise that Fulmer is on the club’s radar. With the Yankees currently without two starters from their Opening Day rotation — Jordan Montgomery underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in early June and Masahiro Tanaka is still rehabbing two strained hamstrings — general manager Brian Cashman is searching for pitchers who will likely be made available at the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline.
Fulmer happens to be one of those arms, as the Tigers are a mediocre 36-46 this year. However, Fulmer won’t necessarily come cheap for buyers. The 25-year-old isn’t eligible for free agency until 2023, which means he will qualify for arbitration over the next four seasons.
Based on Fulmer’s affordability and protection, Detroit will likely demand a top prospect package in return, and it remains unclear which youngsters the Yankees would be inclined to move this summer for an additional starter.
Fulmer won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2016, going 11-7 with a 3.06 ERA in 26 starts. But he’s regressed in the last two seasons. In 2017, Fulmer finished 10-12 with a 3.38 ERA in 25 starts.