Pirates Interested in Rick Porcello

The Detroit Tigers signed Anibal Sanchez today, which has led to a lot of speculation that Rick Porcello could become available in a trade. Jim Bowden reports that the Pirates are one of the teams interested in Porcello.

There’s been a lot of match making rumors involving the Pirates and the Tigers. A lot of that has to do with the Pirates looking for starters, the Tigers looking for relievers, and matching needs with Joel Hanrahan and Porcello. To my knowledge, this is the first time we’ve had an actual rumor connecting the Pirates to Porcello (there has been a rumor connecting the teams on Hanrahan).

Porcello hasn’t had the best numbers in the majors. He jumped right to the majors at the start of the 2009 season, putting up a 3.96 ERA in 31 starts. He never recaptured those numbers. In 2010 he had a 4.92 ERA in 27 starts, and spent time in Triple-A. In 2011 he had a 4.75 ERA in 31 starts, and a 4.59 ERA in 31 starts in 2012. His xFIP numbers have always been much better, around a 4.00. The difference has been that the ground ball pitcher has had a rough defense behind him in Detroit, leading to inflated numbers.

It’s for that reason that Porcello would be a good addition for the Pirates. He’s still young, has three years of control remaining, and the Pirates have a strong infield defense. That would put him in a great situation for a turnaround season, and would give the Pirates a young starter for multiple years. I’m not sure if a Hanrahan/Porcello swap would work out, since Porcello will probably have a lot more demand than Hanrahan, and has the benefit of years of control and a lower salary. A quick estimate has his trade value around $12 M, although that’s very flexible since he’s got three arbitration years and unknown salary adjustments for each of those years.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • jalcorn

    Come on NH, please make this happen. Porcello is a perfect fit on so many levels. Its been an obvious trade possibility for over a month.

    • Lee Young

      If only it was up to NH…unfortunately, it takes two to tango.

    • emjayinTN

      j: You are absolutely right on target with this kid – won’t turn 24 until 2 days after Christmas and he has averaged 30 starts in the majors each year for the past 4 years. He gives up a lot of hits, but he is carrying a career 48-42 record. If we have to add something to Hanrahan to get him, so be it, as long as it is Jose Tabata, Alex Pressley, or Josh Harrison – Leyland would love to have a kid like Harrison and he could do very well for Detroit.

  • derekbellstutu

    I would love to see Porcello in black and gold! I doubt the Pirates would get Porcello straight up for Hanrahan, but the additional piece going to Detroit would probably not be major. Make it happen Neal!

    • Mark Busch

      The additional piece? Straight cash, homey.

      • Matt Beam

        agree, $5M + Hanny

  • TonyPenaforHOF

    Neil can make three moves to bring Pittsburgh into contention:
    – Make the trade with Detroit (Hanny for Porcello)
    – Sign Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez and shortstop Aledmys Diaz

    Look at the current MLB team – young players at 3rd, second, CF, LF.
    With these signings you can add SS and RF.
    That leaves catcher as the only hole.

    Looking at the MLB rotation, JMac is the only young MLB pitcher with any success.
    Add Porcello, Cole and Tallion to JMac within the next year and there is some youth and talent. The bullpen can be filled by players currently in the bullpen and in the minors.

    Might be a pretty good team for a few years.

    • Lee Young

      Do you have a link to these Cuban OFers?

      Are they Major League ready?


    • Lee Young

      I found this

      Two Cuban prospects, outfielder Dariel Alvarez and shortstop Aledmis Diaz, have established residency in Mexico and are now officially MLB free agents, reports Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald. The young pair defected at different times last summer but both settled in Mexico.

      Alvarez, 24, has been playing professionally in Vera Cruz, Mexico, since October. The 6′ 2″, 190-lb right-handed hitter played all three outfield positions for Camaguey in Serie Nacional. Alvarez’s above-average arm has impressed MLB scouts since arriving in Vera Cruz, reports Jesse Sanchez of

      Diaz, 22, was a member of the Cuban National team and has been training in Mexico City since his arrival. The 6′ 1″, 185-lb shortstop is thought to be an average runner with an above-average arm. Sanchez adds on his report on the pair that Diaz is likely the closest to being MLB-ready, and can hit for both average and power.

      The new rules of the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulate that Cuban defectors over the age of 23 with more than three years of professional play under their belt are not subject to international signing restrictions. Because of this, it is likely clubs will wait until Diaz turns 23 in early January to sign the infielder.

  • thecrow124

    Please do not trade Hanrahan for Porcello, we already have Porcello in Jeff Locke, but with 3 more years of control than we would have with Porcello. Teams continue to undervalue Hanrahan in trade scenario’s, that is fine with me, hold on to him and trade him at the deadline, he will have no less value then than he has now and we have a better chance of competing with him than without.
    As far as helping the team for this season, there is little that can be done. Huntington continues to sign average players to pair with our average players hoping for a big rebound season. That is something that is never going to happen, why can’t he see that. My personal opinion is that he should not continue to take himself out of dealings with thew upper tier of free agents. I realize that this sentiment is not shared by anyone else, but I live my life by the belief that if you want to be great you have to surround yourself with great people, if you strive to be average then surround yourself with average people.
    We have McCutchen signed to a very team friendly deal, now surround him with great players instead of average to poor players. Sometimes I have no idea where his mind is either. He said today that KC gave up more than the Pirates could give up, and I agree with that, but from the other side of things, he SHOULD have been talking to KC, We could have given them AJ and Wandy for Myers and Odorizzi, how can one man that covets his prospects like NH does not see that trade and be all over it. Heck, give them McDonald and AJ or Wandy and I still make that trade 7 days a week.

  • Matt Beam

    Please find a way to do the deal suggested in this article by a Tigers blogger

    Porcello and Boesch for Hanny and Tabata

    With Cutch and Marte, Tabata is a very borderline starting OF that doesn’t fit PNC nearly as well as Boesch (big LH RF similar to Garret Jones but maybe with slightly less power). Boesch goes from a large Comerica Park to a much more friendly park for LH’s. I’d expect 20-25 HR’s and a 0.270ish BA. Both OF’s could probably use a change in scenery at this point

    • TonyPenaforHOF

      If they made that deal and signed the Cubans it would be a very good off season.

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