It isn’t on the level of the Justin Upton talk, but the Rick Porcello trade saga continues.
The Detroit Tigers, who have six starting pitchers, have continued to discuss Porcello with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Seattle Mariners and perhaps other teams, according to major league sources.
The Tigers likely would ask for a shortstop, late-inning reliever or right-handed-hitting outfielder in return. The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, added veteran right-hander Brandon McCarthy in free agency to go along with Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill and Wade Miley and also have youngsters Tyler Skaggs and Patrick Corbin to potentially compete for the spot at the back end of the rotation.
Porcello, 24, has great appeal to teams because he won’t become a free agent until after the 2015 season. He went 10-12 with a 4.59 ERA last season, but those numbers figure to improve markedly if he pitches in front of a better infield defense (the 2012 Tigers had little range at third base, shortstop and first base).
The Tigers aren’t forced to trade Porcello because of a roster crunch. If they keep Porcello, he would be a well-above-average fifth starter behind Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer. In that scenario, Drew Smyly could move to the bullpen, where he excelled during the 2012 postseason.
The Tigers discussed Porcello with the Texas Rangers earlier this offseason, but those talks failed to progress. The Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres also expressed interest in Porcello.