Rick Porcello has remained one of the most common names discussed this Spring as a possible trade target and it would seem that multiple teams continue to show an interest in acquiring the right-hander from the Detroit Tigers, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLBTR. At least five teams – the Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals – have all been linked to the 24 year old in some fashion recently but questions remain about whether the Tigers will indeed move him.
Detroit’s hesitation is somewhat understandable, particularly given the high value placed on starting pitching depth. The team reportedly will not move Porcello unless they receive a “strong return”. He’s currently slated to be the team’s 5th starter, with Drew Smyly either taking a role in the bullpen or returning to Triple-A to start. Smyly would be the first option to replace Porcello in the rotation should the team end up making a move.
Based on the team’s current and most pressing needs, it seems only natural that the Tigers will focus on bullpen help (i.e. someone who could potentially close) and a right-handed hitting outfielder in any potential deal.
Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports suggest that talks have not progressed far between the Rangers and Tigers, but names have been exchanged between the two sides. Specifically, the Tigers have interest in a pair of Rangers prospects – shortstop Leury Garcia and right-hander Nick Tepesch. Detroit wants a third player in a deal, according to Rosenthal, but the Rangers appear to be balking at the high price.
Boston appears to have interest in Porcello and could match up well with the Tigers on a deal, but it seems they are hesitant to break up their bullpen mix. A deal involved right-hander Andrew Bailey could make sense for both sides, given Detroit’s need for help at the back of their bullpen. The two players also match up fairly closely in terms of 2013 salaries (Porcello’s slated to earn $5.1 Million, while Bailey will make $4.1 Million).
Baltimore and St. Louis have had scouts watch Porcello throw of late, but neither team is expected to be serious suitors.
San Diego has also had multiple conversations with the Tigers, and may have made the most progress on a potential deal, reportedly turning down multiple offers according to Jim Bowden. Detroit offered the team two separate deals involving either Huston Street or Luke Gregorson and the Padres rejected both proposals. Bowden suggests that talks are continuing between the two sides but there’s no certainty that a deal will be reached.
While there appears to be little urgency to getting a deal complete, it would be safe to assume that the Tigers would like to resolve the matter before the regular season begins in about two weeks. With a deal in place, the team can head into the season with some of their pending questions addressed (pending what they receive in return, of course). Without a deal, Porcello can focus on getting opposing hitters out and the rumors will cease to be a distraction for the time being. Detroit could look to move him before the July trade deadline as well. He’ll still be under team control for three more seasons following this year, meaning there will be some value to a team that acquires him no matter when a deal is completed.