Detroit Tigers sign Michael Fulmer for $3.1 million to avoid arbitration

Detroit Free Press

Evan Petzold
| Detroit Free Press

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The Detroit Tigers avoided arbitration with right-hander Michael Fulmer, signing him to a one-year contract, the team announced Tuesday. A source with knowledge of the situation told the Free Press the deal is for $3.1 million.

Fulmer is the first of nine tendered players to strike an agreement. The Tigers have until 1 p.m. Friday to submit salary figures for Matthew Boyd, Jeimer Candelario, Jose Cisnero, Buck Farmer, Niko Goodrum, Joe Jimenez, JaCoby Jones and Daniel Norris.

The 27-year-old Fulmer registered an 8.78 ERA, 20 strikeouts and 12 walks across 27⅔ innings (10 starts) in 2020. It was his first season back from Tommy John surgery. His elbow was reconstructed in March 2019.

Our predictions for the 2021 Tigers season ]

Two years ago, Fulmer was the first player to take the Tigers to an arbitration hearing since Chris Holt in 2001. He lost the dispute and got $2.8 million instead of his requested $3.4 million. Last year, after elbow surgery, he got $2.8 million as well.

Entering 2021, Fulmer will compete for a spot in the starting rotation. He was limited to no more than three innings in his starts last season, but the Tigers plan to let go of the restrictions.

The Tigers acquired Fulmer, the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year, in July 2015 from the New York Mets for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. He becomes a free agent after the 2023 season.

[ Where Tigers’ Michael Fulmer is headed after ‘trial run’ in 2020 ]

For the remaining players eligible for arbitration, Boyd is projected to earn $5.5 million, according to, followed by Candelario at $1.7 million, Cisnero at $900,000, Farmer at $1.4 million, Goodrum at $1.6 million, Jimenez at $1 million, Jones at $2.2 million and Norris at $3 million.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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