The Mariners, Orioles and Padres have contacted the Tigers about trading for right-hander Rick Porcello, according to major-league sources. It’s believed that Seattle and Baltimore are more actively interested than San Diego at this point.
Detroit has six starters after re-signing Anibal Sanchez, and Tigers officials are willing to consider offers for Porcello. The Tigers are looking for a right-handed outfield bat and late-inning bullpen arm. They could obtain one or both by dealing Porcello.
The Tigers don’t have a closer in place for 2013, so they may look to acquire a reliever who could grow into the role – such as Seattle’s Stephen Pryor or Baltimore’s Pedro Strop. San Diego has an abundance of right-handed bullpen arms, including Luke Gregerson, Brad Brach, Brad Boxberger, Dale Thayer, Nick Vincent and closer Huston Street. Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia also may have appeal to the Tigers as a platoon partner for Andy Dirks in left.
Porcello went 10-12 with a 4.59 ERA this year, but he likely would fare much better with an improved infield defense behind him. He surrendered the most hits in the AL this year (226) but his strikeout-to-walk and home run rates have improved steadily over his career. Porcello, who turns 24 next week, isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season, which is part of his appeal.
The Angels were another potential trade destination for Porcello until they filled their rotation vacancy by trading Kendrys Morales to Seattle for left-hander Jason Vargas. The same trade put Seattle in play as a Porcello suitor, since the Mariners now must replace the 217-1/3 innings Vargas delivered this year.