Originally written on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 10/20/14
Mlb-white-sox-tigers-may
The Baltimore Orioles arent interested in trading shortstop J.J. Hardy to Detroit for starter Rick Porcello. They may be more willing to trade closer Jim Johnson. At first blush, that seems odd. But theres a sabermetric rationale behind it. Johnson could have a superb 2013 season and still not approach what he accomplished last year: He led the majors with 51 saves, made his first All-Star appearance and was one of the most dominant relievers in baseball. He turns 30 this June, so hes right in the middle of his prime. At the moment, Porcello is probably the best fifth starter in baseball -- considering his potential (still young at 24) and the Tigers pitching depth. Porcello is coming off an unspectacular season, 10-12 with a 4.59 ERA. But his numbers would improve with a better defensive infield -- which the Orioles have, with the likes of Hardy and Manny Machado. Porcello is three seasons away from free agency, Johnson only two. Porcello has averaged a little more than 170 innings per year over his major-league career. Johnson logged just under 70 in 2012, within the normal range for a closer on a winning team. So, Porcello figures to throw more than 500 innings before becoming a free agent. Johnson might offer only 140. Put another way: Johnson, with less than one-third of Porcellos expected workload, would need to pitch pretty spectacularly over the next two seasons in order to be more valuable than a theoretically improved Porcello. If Orioles general manager Dan Duquette is willing to move Johnson in the right deal, the availability of replacements would be one reason why. Free agent Rafael Soriano is unsigned, along with buy-low candidates Brian Wilson and Jose Valverde. The open market remains laden with semi-closer types like Brandon Lyon and Matt Lindstrom. Pedro Strop and Luis Ayala are internal candidates to close. The Tigers, meanwhile, would like to add a veteran to the back end of the bullpen, in case Bruce Rondon isnt ready to close for a World Series contender at age 22 -- without having thrown a pitch in the major leagues.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Michael Vick: Percy Harvin won't be a monster here

Robert Griffin III 'guaranteed' to be back in Week 11

Urlacher: Cutler paid like elite QB, hasn’t produced like one

Hoyer doesn’t think about getting benched for Manziel

Cardinals kicker blew $1,500 signing bonus on headphones

Ainge: Draft lottery reform would be 'better for the game'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Royals take Game 2 to even series with Giants

Report: Roger Goodell will have to testify in Ray Rice case

Blake Griffin accused of slapping man in Las Vegas club

Ronda Rousey to face Cat Zingano at UFC 182

Report: Zach Mettenberger to start for Titans over Locker

LaMarr Woodley likely done for season with biceps injury

Falcons make huge mistake with London infographic

DeMarco Murry surprises Cowboys linemen with iMacs

Jimbo Fisher's son reps for Winston on 'Superhero Day'

WATCH: Steve Ballmer freaks out while shown on Jumbotron

AUDIO: Rex Ryan pranks Sammy Watkins on conference call

Top storyline for each Week 8 NFL game

WATCH: Giants pitcher yells at Salvador Perez after HR

Will Muschamp's head coaching job posted on Craigslist

Miss California USA would like to date Eric Hosmer

WATCH: Eric Bledsoe sends Clipper flying with sick move

Kiffin's mom fears for son's safety in return to Tennessee

WATCH: Penguins perform 'O Canada' following tragedy

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Brian Urlacher rips Jay Cutler

Top NFL storylines: Week 8

Kiffin's mom worried for son's safety

Report: Goodell will have to testify

Penguins do 'O Canada' following tragedy

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups A – D

Porn star: No one parties like Janikowski

Report: Expect Florida to make a run at Bob Stoops

The San Francisco Giants are zombies

10 bold predictions for NFL Week 8

Pitcher's wife leaves generous tip

Nicklaus defends Jameis Winston

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.