Much of the focus of this next phase of the Chicago Cubs’ offseason is on the bats they need to add at first base and/or DH and/or catcher. But we know the Cubs will always still be opportunistic when it comes to adding relief arms, even as they have a deep and robust group of internal options.
To that end, Jon Morosi mentioned a very specific name when discussing the Cubs.
“I think maybe they add one more arm,”Morosi told MLB Network. “I’ve even heard some rumblings of Michael Fulmer, possibly.”
Morosi, who contributes on air at Marquee, and who was all over the Cubs and Swanson, is tossing out an awfully specific name right there. That should probably be heard as more than just an off-hand remark. That’s not to say we should look for an immediate signing, but the Cubs absolutely make sense for Fulmer.
The 29-year-old former starting pitcher transitioned to the bullpen with the Tigers early in the 2021 season, and generally took really well to the role: 2.90 ERA over 111.2 innings the last two seasons, 3.40 FIP, 23.8% K, 8.5% BB. If he weren’t associated with being a semi-disappointing post-hype starting pitcher for so long (yes, he was a frequent Cubs trade rumor in the “cost-controlled starter” days), I think more folks would be talking about him as a really nice option in free agency. He’s been a kinda awesome reliever for two years now.
If Fulmer isn’t looking at a big score this offseason – maybe teams want to see him pitch successfully in high-leverage relief a little longer – he could try to sign a short-term deal with the Cubs, work on his stuff further, and then look for a bigger contract next offseason at age 30. The Cubs have cultivated something of a specialty there, bringing in good relievers, helping them have exceptional seasons, and then getting them paid in free agency thereafter. I would think that track record would be mighty attractive to someone like Fulmer.
Heck, in Fulmer’s case, given their situation, the Cubs could try to woo him with the opportunity to close, too.
We’ll keep an eye on this one, but if the Cubs do get serious on Fulmer, that feels like a very nice addition to the bullpen.
Also, if you’re looking to get a feel on this part of the reliever market, Adam Ottavino just signed the following deal after a fantastic year with the Mets: