Fulmer reflects on Yo trade, former organization

Rookie sent to Tigers as part of last season's Cespedes deal

Fulmer reflects on Yo trade, former organization

DETROIT -- There is still plenty of unwritten history that, in the coming months and years, will determine which team made the better trade last July.

The Mets received Yoenis Cespedes and, as manager Terry Collins said, "got to the World Series -- that's the idea." But the Tigers received an impressive return haul fronted by Michael Fulmer, already one of the best pitchers in the Majors.

"Obviously, Yoenis did pretty good for them," Fulmer said on Friday afternoon, before the Mets opened a series in Detroit for the first time in five years. "They made it to the World Series. When they made the playoffs, I rooted for them. I really did. Seeing my former teammates on TV in the World Series, I bet it was an awesome moment for them. I texted each and every one of them that I knew and said, 'Congratulations on making it this far. Let me know how it is. Hopefully I can do the same thing as y'all.'"

Though the Mets will not oppose Fulmer this series, it would be difficult for them not to know all about him. The 44th selection in the 2011 Draft -- which also saw the Mets select Brandon Nimmo 13th overall -- has gone 9-2 with a 2.42 ERA in 17 starts for the Tigers, bursting onto the scene this season as a legitimate American League Rookie of the Year Award candidate.

"I think our organization certainly should be very proud of players they've developed and traded," Collins said. "I ran the Minor Leagues in a lot of places, and that's your job. Your job is to produce Major League players for your team or to get help for your team. And our organization, our scouts and our player development should be proud of the Michael Fulmers of the world."

With the Mets, Fulmer says he drew significant influence from Frank Viola, his pitching coach at Class A Savannah. He has since begun leaning on new mentors, including former AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander and Mike Pelfrey.

But even if Fulmer remains one of the best pitchers for the next decade, the Mets cannot regret trading him to any great extent. General manager Sandy Alderson has said in the past that even now, given added perspective, he would do the deal again. World Series opportunities are that rare. Without Cespedes, the Mets almost certainly would not have made it last October.

Collins, for his part, laughed when recalling a recent conversation with close friend and former Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

"He wanted to know if we had any more Fulmers we wanted to trade," Collins said. "I told him I wasn't sure, but we wanted to know if they had any more Cespedeses they wanted to trade."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.