As the Tigers head into the 2013 season, one of the big question marks is going to be rotation depth. At least as the roster stands right now. Sure, the Tigers have one of the better starting rotations in the American League, but starting rotations are a fragile beast, and at some point, a six or seventh member is going to have to step in. Looking at the Tigers organization right now, one can easily see the rotation is only five deep, maybe six if you count Casey Crosby as a legitimate option. After watching Crosby struggle with command, I don’t think we can say that he is a good option with any level of certainty.
Reportedly, there are several National League teams that are interested in the enigmatic Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello. I’m not surprised. There is plenty of argument to be made that Porcello’s flower could bloom a bit more elsewhere. Like on a team with a better defense. There are those that believe improvement is inevitable because Porcello is only 23 years old still. He is a four year veteran at this point though, so I am not buying any young and still improving arguments. There are those sabremetric fans, who will tell you the slow but steady decrease in Porcello’s FIP mean he is improving.
I’m not buying it. I see a guy that gives up line drives all over the field, and even with a better fastball, his improvement isn’t likely to be of any significance until he develops a swing and miss breaking ball. At this point, is that going to really happen?
I say ship him out Detroit. I don’t care if there isn’t a current replacement for Porcello on the roster. There is still plenty of guys to sign, and trading Porcello would give the Tigers an opportunity to stock a few younger players into a system that needs it. And the reality is, Porcello could have some extra value to a National League club. With the pitcher batting, it takes a little pressure off of Porcello’s inability to get strikeouts.
I’m sure that I am in the minority of Detroit fans on the subject, but the reality is the Tigers should’ve dealt Porcello before last season when he had a little more value. Mike Ilitch’s desire to win a World Series, while incredible for us as fans, has also meant that the Tigers hold onto some players longer than they should, and won’t be able to maximize value out of them in the trade market before they hit free agency.
Is Rick Porcello a quality back of the rotation? Sure he is. It won’t hurt the Tigers if he is pitching games for them in 2013. But he does have more value to another organization, simply based on his style of pitching. If that value to say a San Diego Padres or Colorado Rockies nets us a couple of quality prospects, all the better. The Tigers need to replenish.