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.