Edson: Would the Tigers Trade Fulmer and Castellanos?

After picking up some good value last season at the trade deadline, the Detroit Tigers have some important decisions to make in 2018.

The Tigers, who were going nowhere last season, unloaded veterans Justin Verlander, J.D. Martinez, Justin Wilson and Alex Avila.

Some Tigers fans grumbled at the prospect of losing their favorite players. But it turns out general manager Al Avila and his staff knew what they were doing. They got some solid young players in return.

Most of those were position players, which the Tigers organization badly needed. They are developing right on time with the young Detroit minor league pitchers.

Mix that with having the first-round pick in this year’s amateur draft and the Tigers could be headed in the right direction in the next few years.

That’s important because if you look back at the last two times the Tigers won the World Series – 1984 and 1968 – many of the key team members were developed on the farm.

In 1968, the home grown talent included the likes of Al Kaline, Mickey Lolich, Bill Freehan, Willie Horton, Jim Northrup, Mickey Stanley and Don Wert, to name a few.

In 1984, it was Jack Morris, Alan Trammell (both going to the Hall of Fame this year), Lance Parrish, Kirk Gibson and Lou Whitaker.

This year, rumblings from inside the Tigers organization say the team would consider trading 25-year-old pitcher Michael Fulmer and 26-year-old outfielder Nick Castellanos if the right deal came along.

Fulmer is 22-21 in his career, the victim of poor hitting support, as his 3.38 earned run average attests. Castellanos hit 26 home runs and drove in 101 runs last season and is hitting above .300 again this year.

Another Tigers player who could draw interest is closer Shane Greene, who leads the team in saves with six. He’s 29-years-old and the Tigers compare Greene with last year’s closer, Justin Wilson.

Because Fulmer and Castellanos are young, the Tigers would need to receive some solid prospects to swing a big trade at the July deadline.

But contending teams are desperate to make a splash at the deadline and the Tigers would be sitting in the catbird’s seat. They don’t have to deal any of their young stars.

As for trading their old star, Miguel Cabrera, forget it. He’s headed to the Hall of Fame, of course. But during the last two seasons he’s only been a shadow of himself because of injuries. Plus, he has a $30 million contract per season. He’s virtually untradeable.

So as this 2018 season progresses, keep your eyes on the kind of years Fulmer and Castellanos are having.

The Tigers might get some offers they can’t refuse.

Nick Edson is a retired Hall of Fame columnist and sportswriter. He worked 25 years at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, 18 as sports editor. He is a two-time president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association and a member of the Michigan Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.