Trade interest in Fulmer grows; Kinsler in holding pattern

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Al Avila says the Tigers aren't actively trying to trade Michael Fulmer but won't rule it out.

Orlando, Fla. — After a relatively quiet Monday at the baseball Winter Meetings, the rumor mill started to churn and some of the buzz involved Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer.

The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers were among teams that have reportedly contacted the Tigers about what it would take to pry away the former American League Rookie of the Year.

“We did have more than a couple of teams who have expressed interest,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said Tuesday. “But all we are doing is listening at this point. For us, it just pays to listen and to see what is out there.”

Avila didn’t want to get into the specifics of what the Tigers would be looking for in a package for Fulmer, who has five more years of club control. But he speculated that only five teams had a deep enough farm system to even begin a conversation.

More: Tigers offer potential boosts for scuffling vets Martin, Fiers

“For us to trade him, a club would really have to step up and have something significant that we would feel would make us a much better organization as we move forward,” he said.

The Yankees have one of the deepest and most prized farm systems in baseball. Among the prospects rumored to be in consideration include right-handed pitcher Chance Adams (No. 2 in the Yankees system), left-handed pitcher Justus Sheffield (No. 4), right-handed pitcher Albert Abreu (No. 7) and middle infielder Thairo Estrada (No. 16).

Chance Adams

It is unknown if the Yankees would part with outfielder Clint Frazier, though the Tigers might insist on it.

As of Tuesday night, no formal offer had been made, Avila said.

“Let’s say you have an asset, like your house,” he said. “And somebody likes it. You don’t have it for sale, but somebody says, ‘Man, I really like your house,’ and they keep pushing you about it. At some point, you might end up selling it.”

Every player has his price.

More: Jimenez on a mission to refashion his body, game

Unlike with Fulmer, the Tigers are actively seeking a trade for second baseman Ian Kinsler. And there wasn’t much movement on that front Tuesday.

“Just about trades in general, there has been a lot of talking amongst clubs,” Avila said. “We’ve talked to several clubs today. But right now there is nothing moving. Everyone is positioning themselves to see where everything is going to fall. People are trying to figure out where to put their money and checking their options.

“That’s not to say that at some point those dominoes won’t start to fall. It might happen here, it might not.”

With Kinsler, Avila said, it’s at the point where names have been exchanged with another team.

“But we just can’t agree,” he said.

Avila also said he has taken calls on reliever Shane Greene, but it was the same scenario as with Fulmer. The Tigers are listening, not seeking.

“Shane Greene is a guy who has always brought interest,” Avila said. “But at this point, there is nothing viable. He’s not a player we are actually calling people on. We haven’t done that with any of your young, controllable players. But again, it doesn’t mean we won’t listen.”

One player that teams aren’t burning up Avila’s phone about is shortstop Jose Iglesias.

“Based on where we are at today, he will probably be our starting shortstop when we start the season,” Avila said. “Although, if we trade Kinsler and move Dixon Machado to second base, we would have a need for a utility guy or middle infielder.”

The Tigers could get that player Thursday in the Rule 5 draft, in which they have the first pick. One of the unprotected prospects available is Braves middle infielder Travis Demeritte. @cmccosky