According to Roch Kubato of MASN (coming to my attention via MLB Trade Rumors), the Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs, and Baltimore Orioles discussed a three-team trade that would send starting pitcher Rick Porcello out of town. From Kubato:
"I heard last night that the Tigers and Cubs are discussing a potential trade involving pitcher Rick Porcello, who also interests the Orioles. Now here’s the rumored kicker: The Tigers are trying to get the Orioles involved because they want shortstop J.J. Hardy, and they don’t feel as though the Cubs have the necessary components to make it a two-team trade."
J.J. Hardy would represent a defensive upgrade over Jhonny Peralta (we’ve talked about him here before) and, although he hasn’t been quite as good with the bat in his career, he’s still been an above average hitter at the shortstop position. If this deal (or something very similar) were to transpire, the Tigers would likely look to move Peralta rather quickly.
Oct 24, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello (48) delivers a pitch during the eighth inning of game one of the 2012 World Series against the San Francisco Giants at AT
Porcello still has three years of team control remaining and Hardy is signed for only two more seasons, so it feels like the Orioles (or Cubs, perhaps) would have to send something else Detroit’s way to make the whole thing work out.
Going back to Kubato, he doesn’t think a deal will ultimately materialize here:
"I still don’t think the Orioles are willing to part with Hardy unless they’re absolutely overwhelmed by an offer. They love the left side of their infield. They’re not looking to shift Manny Machado to shortstop in 2013."
I’m not generally in favor of Trading Rick Porcello, but if it netted an upgrade at shortstop – and then Peralta in turn netted something useful, like something resembling starting pitching depth – it might not be a horrible swap.