This story was excerpted from Jason Beck’s Tigers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.
Sawyer Gipson-Long had just completed a long bus trip with the Twins’ Double-A affiliate from Wichita, Kan., to San Antonio, Texas, when he got a call from Minnesota player development director Alex Hassan. Knowing that Tuesday was baseball’s Trade Deadline, the 24-year-old right-hander instantly knew what the call was for.
“The Twins are in the running for a World Series this year, and they need dudes to bolster their rotation and make a push,” Gipson-Long said. “I figured they were going to trade some guys away. Never figured it would be me.”
The Twins traded several prospects to upgrade their bullpen, including a few from Wichita. Gipson-Long was the return prospect for the Tigers in the Michael Fulmer trade. While Fulmer just had to change clubhouses at Target Field, Gipson-Long flew from San Antonio to Washington, then to Portland, Maine, where the Erie SeaWolves are in the middle of a two-week New England road trip.
It was a long, unique journey for Gipson-Long, who hasn’t taken a traditional route through pro ball. An academic all-conference player at Mercer University, he was a chemical commerce major who also took pre-med studies. He’d like to go back to school one day and put that to work in a post-playing career in the game, but for now…