Since the Tigers re-signed Anibal Sanchez in late December, general manager has supposedly received numerous calls from teams looking to acquire a starting pitcher. The Tigers currently have six starters with Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Sanchez having rotation spots one through four locked up. Drew Smyly and Rick Porcello would vie for the fifth spot in spring training, unless a deal involving either is struck before then.
Dombrowski was quoted earlier this week as saying that you “can’t have six starters.” In other words, Porcello or Smyly will be dealt. And seeing as the Tigers’ 1-4 are all right-handed. Opposing GM’s also see Porcello as a guy who can eat up 180 innings, can sit at a 95-mph fastball and mix in his his two-seam sinker. He throws strikes and is relatively affordable – his contract ($3.1 million in 2012, arbitration-eligible this year and trade price (reasonable package in return). He is also 24 years old and doesn’t hit free agency until 2016.
Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com is reporting that the Tigers, Orioles and Cubs are discussing a deal in which the Tigers would part with Porcello and receive Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy in return. The Cubs would receive Porcello and trade young pitching to Baltimore.
Hardy, 30, would be a dramatic upgrade defensively over incumbent shortstop Jhonny Peralta. A simple look will show that Peralta has only committed two more errors than Hardy has over the last two years. However, Hardy’s range and arm strength are far superior. Considering the Tigers are below average defensively at third base and first base, it would behoove them to add defense up the middle. Offensively, Hardy would provide a bit of an uptick in the power categories.
It remains to be seen how accurate this report is, but if it is, I like the potential outcome for the Tigers.