Word is out that Rick Porcello is sick of hearing (or talking) about trades and the competition for Tigers’ 5th starter. Who could blame him? I’m sick of it too.
To be honest, we have been hearing an awful lot (from a handful of press sources, really) about Porcello being shopped and Porcello being scouted and we’re treated daily to reassurances that he will – in fact – be dealt at some point soon. I have been quite clear here at MCB that – in my opinion – the Tigers most important hole to fill with a Porcello trade would be the one created by the deal in terms of rotation depth. If your team doesn’t actually need a rotation that is 6 deep, you have been the beneficiary of fortuitous circumstances. The Tigers find themselves in a situation in which they will stroll to the playoffs unless things go horribly wrong (which, in baseball, they often do). They don’t actually need to upgrade anywhere – just to have some decent insurance on hand if worst comes to worst. As for who is actually the better pitcher right now, Porcello, Smyly or even a moneyed veteran like Sanchez, we can’t really determine that by watching a few spring training games. Porcello and Smyly have both been very, very good in very, very limited playing time. Smyly would be the more natural fit for a trip to AAA or a spell in the bullpen. If Porcello is still in the organization, we’d all assume that he would remain part of the rotation. So as for all the talk?…
As far as the trade talk goes, nobody has said anything new for weeks. Teams have been scouting Porcello. And?… Porcello has looked good in Spring Training. And…? Dombrowski has previously stated a desire to have a lefty in the rotation and a belief that it wouldn’t be fair to Porcello or Smyly should either not be a major league starter in April. There has been chatter about dealing Porcello for months, but nothing has gone anywhere at all because nobody has seemed willing to part with very much to acquire him. Months ago, we all weighed in on the issue and even came up with interesting alternative solutions to this “logjam”. And yet it goes on… Some fans think he stinks, some fans think he’s just on the verge of some great seasons. Those who think he stinks want him gone – but he has been good enough in spring training that you’ll hear fewer of those voices right now. Logically, we fans should all be thinking of the situation like (we assume) Dombrowski does – can he get value for Porcello? If he can (and I doubt that) a trade would be a good thing for the team. If he can’t, a trade for a trade’s sake (like the hypothesized and ridiculed Rick Porcello for Carlos Marmol trade) would almost certainly hurt the team in W-L terms.
Since all this is old, old news – I wonder why anyone is bothering to write or discuss this stuff anymore. The critical factor is and was what Porcello could fetch on the market. We haven’t heard anything whatsoever about what a potential deal could look like – making it basically impossible to even have an opinion on whether or not he should be dealt for all the chatter you’ll read on the internet or hear in public places. Frankly, I’m afraid we’re all stuck simply waiting to critique a deal after it’s done – and hoping that it doesn’t turn out to be a Jair Jurrjens for he-who-shall-remain-nameless deal.