Last home game

Last home game: Updated: Jul. 27, 2022, 8:47 a.m.|

Published: Jul. 27, 2022, 8:24 a.m.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer watches from the dugout in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Detroit, Sunday, June 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)AP

DETROIT — No one knows what will happen in the next week, but it’s a pretty good bet that Wednesday afternoon will be the final home game for one or more Detroit Tigers who are on the trading block in advance of next week’s deadline.

Some of the trade candidates — like veteran reliever Andrew Chafin — just arrived this year and have barely had time to unpack their bags.

But others, like relievers Michael Fulmer and Joe Jimenez, have deep roots in the organization.

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“I understand that (Wednesday) is our last home game before the trade deadline, and that might be a little tough,” Fulmer said. “But there’s so much to be grateful for in this organization, my teammates, the guys in this clubhouse. The Tigers allowed me to start my career. They traded for me when I was 22 years old. I’m 29 now. So it’s been a long time and I’m very appreciative and grateful for everything this organization has done for me.”

Fulmer will be a free agent after the season and said there will be “no hard feelings whatsoever” if the Tigers trade him before the Aug. 2 deadline.

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“I know this game is a business and whatever this front office sees fit as being the best move forward for this organization, then I’m all for it,” he said.

Jimenez, 27, was signed by the Tigers as an undrafted free agent out of Puerto Rico in 2013. After a shaky debut in 2017, he became an All-Star in 2018. There have been more peaks and valleys along the way, but he’s currently in the midst of a very strong season, with 49 strikeouts and a 3.13 ERA in 37 1/3 innings of work.

Unlike Fulmer, Jimenez will not be a free agent this winter and has one more year of team control in 2023.

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“It’s something that you can’t control. That’s not on me,” Jimenez said. “I would love to stay here. I grew up here…I’ve been here since I was young. This is all I know.”

The downside of that familiarity is that the Tigers have not seriously contended for the playoffs since 2016. So Jimenez has never had the chance to pitch in meaningful games down the stretch, much less the postseason.

“It would mean something different because I’ve never been there. I haven’t had that experience,” he said. “People say it’s different baseball — like the World Baseball Classic, something like that.”

Fulmer too says the silver lining of a trade would be a chance to compete for a postseason spot.

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“I mean, that’s what the trade deadline is about,” he said. “Usually the guys that are buyers are winning teams.”

During Fulmer’s American Rookie of the Year campaign in 2016, the Tigers competed for a playoff spot until the final day of the season.

“I think I was too starstruck or in awe that I was in the big leagues, even at the end of 2016, that I didn’t appreciate how close we were to pitching in the playoffs,” Fulmer said.

Since then, the Tigers have been among the worst teams in baseball, Fulmer has endured a parade of injuries — including Tommy John surgery — and he made a successful transition to the bullpen.

That’s why he said he’s learned to take these sports day by day and to appreciate them every day. And today he’s still a Tiger.

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