With their signing of Anibal Sanchez, the Detroit Tigers have returned their rotation from last year’s World Series run. With Sanchez sliding into the fourth spot in their rotation, that leaves right-hander Rick Porcello bringing up the rear at the end of their rotation.
Porcello is among the best number five starters in the game, and would be much higher in most rotations than that. Additionally, the Tigers have a number of other internal pitching options in the minors, including left-hander Casey Crosby.
Furthermore, the Tigers have a need for an experienced closer at the back end of their bullpen, thanks to the departure of Jose Valverde this off-season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, on the other hand, are in need of another major league starter and have a closer that they really can’t afford to pay any more.
Joel Hanrahan has proven over the past few years, which has included two all-star appearances, that he is a bona fide closer, exactly the kind of proven arm the Tigers seek. He is also in the final season of arbitration before hitting free agency and is going to make more in 2012 than the Pirates should be paying for a closer. Additionally, the Pirates just re-signed reliever Jason Grilli who, despite having never closed before, is capable of taking Hanrahan’s place at the back of the Pirates pen.
Do you see the obvious match here?
A simple one-for-one trade would allow both teams to fill holes on their rosters without either one having to part with any of their top prospects. For the Pirates, the addition of Porcello would mean that they only have to rely on one rookie starter in their rotation instead of possibly two as projected at the moment.
For the Tigers, the addition of Hanrahan would help solidify the only real flaw on the Rigers roster, one that proved to be a major question mark last fall. While his salary is too much for the Pirates to pay for a closer, the higher-payrolled Tigers can afford the right-hander’s price tag.
This trade would make a ton of sense for both teams. The Pirates have been painfully inactive this winter, but a move like this would make up for a good portion of the inactivity.