Oct 11, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Jim Johnson (43) pitches against the New York Yankees during the thirteenth inning of game four of the 2012 ALDS at Yankee Stadium. Orioles won 2-1 after thirteen innings. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Trading Rick Porcello For Jim Johnson?

I’ve tried. I really have. Rick Porcello has been discussed more than any fifth starter possibly in history, and I am growing tired of it. I blame a somewhat inactive Tigers off-season for the abundance of discussion surrounding an average at best pitcher. If there was more rumors swirling around the Tigers, or they were signing Michael Bourn, we would have something to discuss. People that have to write about the Tigers need something new. Please let us know you are interested in Aledmys Diaz Mr. Dombrowski!


I was all set to let everything concerning Rick Porcello go until I saw an article by Jon Paul Morosi suggesting that the Tigers and Orioles should get together on a Porcello for Jim Johnson trade. Now, I have much respect for Mr. Morosi, but this article irked me enough to have me penning(?) yet another Porcello piece here on Motor City Bengals.

I apologize if you all tired of discussing Rick Porcello trade scenarios as well. But since I’ve already started, I hope you stick it out with me for the rest of this article.

Here is the thing about Morosi’s article. Morosi points out a couple of things correctly. His first point is that Baltimore doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to part with J.J. Hardy for Rick Porcello. I can’t necessarily blame them for that, but that is certainly more of a fair deal than Porcello for Johnson. In his article, Morosi then goes on to discuss that Johnson would have to pitch incredibly for the next two seasons to match the value of an 170 inning starter. Due to the number of innings, starters are more inherently valuable than relievers.

I think that is a point that most of us know. After all, it’s just logic. So why is it people like Morosi keep suggesting the Tigers trade Rick Porcello for a reliever? The hot name earlier was Joel Hanrahan. This is no slam on Johnson, he has been excellent the past two years. But Morosi makes the point that Porcello would benefit from the improved infield defense of Baltimore. Well then, would Johnson not be hurt by the poorer Detroit infield defense? Johnson doesn’t strike people out. In fact, he struck out 5.4 batters per nine innings last season. Rick Porcello struck out 5.5 per nine last season. Johnson is a closer that relies on his defense.

I get that the Tigers are likely looking for someone to bolster the back end of their bullpen, but it in no way means the Tigers should part with a guy that is going to be 24 years old and puts up league average numbers for 170 innings for a relief pitcher. Even if it’s for a real good relief pitcher.

I go back to the Trevor Cahill deal of just one year ago that netted the Oakland A’s a couple of real talented guys in Jarrod Parker and Ryan Cook. Now, Cahill is a better pitcher than Porcello so the Tigers can’t expect the same deal. Plus, not a lot of people know what the heck Arizona GM Kevin Towers was thinking on that one.  But Cahill isn’t far superior to Porcello, and they both have similar profiles. Bottom line, the Tigers and David Dombrowski should never just settle for a reliever for Porcello straight up.

Or maybe it’s just me?



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  • http://sidelionreport.com/ Zac Snyder

    It’s not just you, you’re spot on. The national media (Morosi, Olney, etc.) just can’t seem to buy into the fact that the Tigers really are comfortable with moving forward with Bruce Rondon, no matter how many times Dombrowski says it. I really can’t recall another time where such a non-story locally has been made into a bigger deal nationally.

  • chrisHannum

    So… the idea is that the Tigers can’t/won’t use Porcello in relief since he has more value as a starter and therefore they should deal Porcello for a closer. And he picks the closer that most closely resembles what Porcello might look like as a relief pitcher??? Just let Porcello close! It is possible that a pairing would exists where a single reliever would be a fair return for Porcello (but it should be a power arm that is not yet arbitration eligible) – this is not it.

    • John Verburg

      On top of it Johnson has one year less of control.

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