Right now the Detroit Tigers are a better team with Rick Porcello in their starting rotation. That may change in a few months, and the Tigers may see some different needs materialize, but to pull the trigger on a trade involving Porcello right now could leave Detroit without any hole cards when the wheeling and dealing really begins.
The Tigers are concerned about their closer situation, and truthfully, they should be. But for now a closer-by-committee should be enough to get them through for a while. Detroit has enough big bats and enough good starting pitching to keep pace in the AL Central. Rick Porcello is one of those pitchers, and to send him off now, even if it meant possibly getting the closer they so badly need, could end up being a bad move.
For right now, the Tigers need to lean on their strengths and let that carry them through until the trade deadline approaches. The chances are that Porcello will have a good first half of the season, and will boost his value on the trade market. By that time a number of things could have happened, and the Tigers will have more options.
If someone in the Detroit bullpen steps up and successfully takes on the closer role, then other needs can be addressed via trade. If one of the position players should go down with an injury, having a pitcher like Porcello to use as trade leverage can’t be underestimated. The point is that the Tigers aren’t a desperate team right now, and they don’t need to act like one by shopping a valuable commodity like Porcello this early.
The Tigers should remember the Kipling snippet, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…”
Keep your cool Tigers, and your pitching. The season needs to play out before you start dealing away the valuable help. Porcello is a better fifth starter than many clubs have in their fourth spot in the rotation. Making a deal now would mean getting less than maximum value for him.