Tigers

So I Heard You Might Want to Trade Rick Porcello…

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If I were Rick Porcello, I would be sick of all the rumors surrounding me. He has been talked about for the last three months, at least once a week by all the talking heads in Baseball. Here are arguments for trading and not trading Rick Porcello.

Trade Him If:

  • You can get a upgrade at the shortstop position.
    • Jhonny Peralta is an average major league shortstop at best. He wasn’t good on offense, nor defense in 2012, and likely wont ever improve defensively. He is only under contract till the end of the season anyway. He is one year away from being defensively limited to playing the corners, which are currently occupied with the Tigers for the foreseeable future by Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
    • The Tigers have only one shortstop listed in their MLB.com top 20 prospects, Eugenio Suarez, who won’t be ready for at least three seasons. If you watched Suarez in this years Spring Training, you know that he is that far away. He is projected to be an average defender and a very light hitter anyway, which isn’t something to brag about.
    • Trade Targets:
      • Orioles J.J. Hardy: The Orioles just signed him to an extension, but they have youngster Manny Machado, a natural shortstop, playing third for the time being. Hardy is much better on offense and defense than Peralta and they cost about the same. However, the Orioles have young pitching coming out of their ears, so they really don’t need Porcello.
      • Brewers Alex Gonzalez: He is coming off a major injury and has been passed up on the depth chart. Offensively identical to Peralta, he will be a vast defensive upgrade. Porcello has a much higher value however, so the Brewers would have to throw in some other pieces too.
      • Braves Tyler Pastornicky: After starting last season as the Braves SS, getting injured, and then losing his gig to Andrelton Simmons, he is trying to recast himself as a utility man. Pastornicky is a much better defender, will hit for about the same average, but significantly less power compared to Peralta. The Braves also have a pitching surplus, especially when Brandon Beachy returns from Tommy John in the middle of the season. The would have no real reason to acquire Porcello, especially because Pastornicky is very valuable to a National League club.
  • You get two major league ready starting pitching prospects, one of them being left handed.
    • Someday very soon the Tigers might need some pitching help.
      • Justin Verlander is going to be a free agent after the 2014 season and has hinted at wanting to test the market. My bet is that they try to work out an extension this year. However, are you willing to pay him 30+ million a season? He already costs 20, and by paying him 30 million, you have more than the average budget of half the MLB teams spent on three guys (Fielder, Cabrera, and Verlander).
      • Doug Fister is going to need a pay increase. He agreed to working this year for 4 million and has 2 arbitration years left, which could get very expensive quickly.
      • Max Scherzer is going to get paid soon too. Making 6.3 million this season, and will likely demand 10+ next year in arbitration, will hit the free agent market at the same time as Verlander. You need to lock them both up before they get to expensive, which will be hard because Scott Boras is his agent, who encourages his guys to go to free agency.
      • Anibal Sanchez is very expensive and has a very good chance of being a bust. That 16.8 million per bomb could drag the Tigers down for many years if it doesn’t work out.
      • After you pay up to keep all the guys listed above, you have to pay Austin Jackson. He is about the most sure thing you can get as a center fielder and will be paid very handsomely for his services.
    • The Tigers absolutely lack major league ready pitching. Casey Crosby is the only one who might be ready, but he got rocked in his cup of coffee last season with the club. The second highest rated starting pitching prospect behind Crosby in the Tigers system according to MLB.com is Jake Thompson, last years 2nd round pick out of high school, who is 4-5 years away from making an impact at the MLB level. Behind him, is the 2012 4th Rounder from Vanderbilt, Drew VerHagen, who is not going to be ready till at least next season. He’s considered to be the 17th ranked prospect in a very weak system, making him a fringe prospect at best.
    • Keep him till later in the season when someone will come to you, begging and overpaying to take him off your hands. His value can improve if he has a great April, and then why would you trade him.

Keep Him If:

  • You don’t just remove him from the rotation to get a lefty in there, just because you want a lefty. That’s just not smart. If you were in the A.L. East, a division dominated by left handed hitting, I would think about it. The A.L. Central is very pitchable for an all righty rotation.
  • You don’t think you can afford to keep all your other guys.
    • The Tigers have lots of affordable talent who has yet to hit free agent status. Guys like Fister, Jackson, Scherzer, Avila, and Dirks all have to get significant pay increases over the next few seasons. Rick Porcello will be a more affordable, MLB quality starter, who is only 24 by the way.
    • Unless you plan on having a 250 million dollar payroll, which anyone not in Boston or New York can’t afford to maintain, you can’t keep everyone.
  • You are one significant pitching injury from searching the scrap heap for a body to throw out there every fifth day.
    • Do some research about this. Just look at the Padres last season then back at the Tigers, and realize how good you have it. They trotted out Kip Wells for seven starts, who hadn’t been a big league game since 2009. It very well could get that bad.
    • Casey Crosby is the only guy that I’m comfortable getting a start from the minors this season. He has a history of injuries himself, and hasn’t shown that he has the control to get MLB batters out consistently.
    • If you don’t find a scrap heap player that is serviceable, you will be at the mercy of a MLB team who has a pitching surplus. You will have to go and beg for mercy, and way overpay for a guy that his own team doesn’t even want. You could end up forking over Nick Castellanos for Jeff Suppan. 
  • He’s had a great Spring Training
    • You can’t get a better line than he has right now.
      • 18 IP
      • 18 k’s
      • 0 BB
      • 2.50 ERA
      • .209 BAA
      • 0.78 WHIP
  • Drew Smyly isn’t ready like everyone thinks he is.
    • There is a reason that he didn’t regain a spot in the rotation at the end of the year and the Tigers then acquired Anibal Sanchez. He was hurt at three different points last season and started to get rocked around towards the end of his first stint in the rotation.
    • He hasn’t been consistent this spring training. Started off hot, but as the regulars play longer into the game, his numbers have dipped.
    • He has a place in the 2013 bullpen, why force him into a role that he isn’t ready for.

Overall, I hope that the Tigers hold on to him. He may be turning into the next Brandon Inge type polarizing figure in Detroit sports, but that doesn’t make him a bad baseball player. He has a role on this team into the future. Don’t bail on him now just because its a slow off season by hot stove standards. Don’t just trade him because media members think its a good idea.

 

-Dorf

About Dorf

Adam "Dorf" Waltersdorf is the Vice President of TMSNX and contributor across the entire Majors Sports Network. He is the Editor in Chief of the Majors East Lansing and an editor at The Majors Detroit and the The Majors Sports Network. He also is the Host of TMSNX's weekly Football podcast "Inside the Huddle" and on air personality for the weekly Detroit Sports Podcast "Motor City Uncut" and the weekly baseball podcast "The Sandlot Report".

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