Danny Knobler of CBS Sports took to Twitter today with a pair of Detroit Tigers-centric Tweets. The first one was to say that the Tigers aren’t close on any trade involving Rick Porcello, and the second one to say that the club is calling around to find a taker for Brennan Boesch.
Two weeks ago it seemed like Rick Porcello was all but gone. That the question wasn’t if they’d move him, but how soon, and what would be the return package. But the Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers are apparently not going to just trade him for the sake of booting him from the roster, they’re going to wait to see if they can get the proper return package.
June 30, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello (48) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
We have split opinions among the writing staff here at Motor City Bengals about whether they should trade Porcello or not, but I think the “don’t trade him” camp really means “don’t trade him for a pile of junk”. Detroit could go from having great starting pitching depth to almost zero starting pitching depth in one move if he’s dealt, but almost every team needs ten or more starts from a sixth starter over the course of the season. Having too many starters isn’t so much a problem as it is a luxury — one that shouldn’t be given away just because. I am, in general, not in favor of trading away that starting pitching depth, but I would be in favor of it if the price was right.
Knobler is implying that the Tigers’ front office is operating with that thought in mind. They’re under no pressure to deal him now, or before the season starts, or before the trade deadline, or before next offseason. They could trade him if they really like a deal, but keeping him wouldn’t be wasting an asset — to the contrary, actually. They’d likely get good mileage out of having a reliable sixth starter (in Drew Smyly) to call up and plug in at some point.
Knobler also mentions that the Tigers are actively trying to rid themselves of Brennan Boesch. This isn’t altogether surprising after his struggles last season, but now it appears that there might not even be a spot on the 25-man roster for the one promising* slugger. Boesch still has an option year remaining — so he could spend all or part of 2013 in Toledo — but the Tigers just committed $2.4 million his way which, while not a lot of baseball money, is a lot for a player you’re not sure has a future with your big league club.
*Depending on who you ask.
Delmon Young, a younger and not altogether dissimilar type of player to Boesch, just signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for $750 thousand. I’m not sure what the market would be for Boesch if he’s going to be making three times that much money. The perception is that Boesch is a more prospecty type player than Young is at their respective points in their careers — and that is probably partially true — but Boesch will be entering his age 28 season, he’s a terrible defender, he doesn’t have good career numbers at the plate (a .729 OPS), and wouldn’t appear to be more valuable as a platoon player.
Just thinking about it today, I would rather have Delmon Young on this team than Boesch, especially considering their respective salaries. Young at least has one plus skill in that he’s a plus bat versus left-handed pitching, but I don’t know that there’s a spot in which you could play Boesch to have him come out as an above replacement level player in the major leagues.