Follow the links below and read what these guys have to say (there will undoubtedly be plenty more in the future) or skip on through past them if you’d prefer to have me chew your food for you:
Lynn Henning of the Detroit News
Tony Paul of the Detroit News
James Schmehl at MLive.com
The basic idea is this: the hypothesized deals (by Henning & Paul and elsewhere) are Porcello for Joel Hanrahan, Porcello + for Elvis Andrus or Porcello for Peter Bourjos. According to Danny Knobler – who I trust to have a better understanding of what non-Detroit baseball actors are planning than Henning or Paul – none of these are plausible or likely. The Tigers don’t particularly like Hanrahan and don’t want to pay a closer $7 million this year. Can’t argue there, Hanrahan has a 3.74 career ERA and walked more than 5 batters per 9 innings last year. Schmehl and Paul suggest that the Tigers would have to add prospects to the package to get a rental of either Hanrahan or Cleveland’s Chris Perez. I doubt it. The Angels don’t actually want to trade Bourjos away, they’d rather get rid of Kendrys Morales so that Trumbo could DH and have a stellar defensive outfield. The Elvis Andrus stuff is idle dreaming by Tigers fans (and writers) in that no combination of Porcello and Tiger prospects would be enough to pry Andrus away from Texas. They really don’t want to trade him, no matter how sensible it would seem (due to the presence of Jurickson Profar) to people outside of the organization. Other rumors suggest that the Padres might trade either Luke Gregorson or Joe Thatcher for Porcello – two arbitration-eligible relievers who have oscillated between amazing and awful. Either or both would seem like a poor exchange for Detroit, as far as I’m concerned.
Everyone seems to agree that Porcello should be dealt and will be dealt, though there is absolutely nothing to go on (besides idle conjecture and an understanding of the Tigers’ needs and priorities) to guess where he would wind up and what the Tigers would get in return. The three linchpins of that argument are that he’s too expensive, that he can’t/won’t be used in the bullpen and that Smyly can’t/won’t be used in the bullpen or kept in AAA. I’d say that each of those is debatable at the least. I made the argument a few months back that Porcello – stat-wise – appeared to be ideally suited for the bullpen. He struggles to get guys out more than once and he has big L/R splits. He’ll cost less in 2013 than any established closer. Smyly was bumped to AAA when the Tigers acquired Anibal Sanchez and when they called him back up they used him mostly out of the bullpen.
As far as the Tigers needs are concerned, everybody knows that the Tigers would like a right-handed outfielder (one as good or better than Andy Dirks potentially preferred to one that could only platoon with Dirks) that the Tigers would like a better shortstop (especially on defense) and that the Tigers would like another good lefty for the bullpen. Specifically, the story goes, they would like a lefty that could close. But… if the Tigers were to rid themselves of Porcello to fill one or more of these (relatively minor) needs, the biggest question mark for the team going into 2013 would immediately become the lack of any rotation depth beyond Smyly whatsoever. Personally, I’d say that – aside from needing to take a flyer on somebody like Jason Bourgeois, Scott Van Slyke or many others to make 40 starts in left – the Tigers don’t have serious needs right now. It doesn’t sound smart to me to fill one minor hole by creating a potential major one.