PHOENIX — Detroit Tigers right-handed reliever Michael Fulmer has been involved in trade deadline conversations for nearly his entire career, beginning with the July 2015 trade that sent him from the New York Mets to the Tigers ahead of his MLB debut in April 2016.
Seven years later, the Tigers are prepared to shop Fulmer to postseason contenders leading up to the Aug. 2 trade deadline. The 29-year-old becomes a free agent after the season.
“I’m pitching here until I’m not, whenever that day is,” Fulmer said Saturday. “I’m not really worried about it. I’m not really focused on it. I’m just trying to go up and put up the best numbers I can, just trying to get wins.”
The Tigers (27-43) are 11 games out of first place in the American League Central and unlikely to advance to the postseason, so they won’t acquire rental-type players at the deadline.
That means the Tigers — winners in three of their past 12 games — will be sellers as far as 2022 is concerned.
“It’s not over,” Fulmer said. “We’re still a great team. We’re finally starting to play better as a team collectively. We’re holding leads when we need to in the bullpen, and the offense is heating up.”
Along with Fulmer, four other Tigers have expiring contracts: right-handed starter Michael Pineda ($5.5 million), outfielder Robbie Grossman ($5 million), catcher Tucker Barnhart ($7.5 million) and righty reliever Wily Peralta ($2.5 million).
Fulmer, a high-leverage reliever, is making $4.95 million in 2022. He has a 2.08 ERA with 12 walks and 27 strikeouts across 26 innings in 26 appearances, posting a career-best 0.923 WHIP.
“It’s one of those things, whether it’s the trade deadline, the end of the year or for future seasons,” Fulmer said. “Obviously, I just try to go out there and continue to put up zeros and focus on now. I’ve talked to…