Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello has become a hot commodity on the trade market this spring. The Texas Rangers have shown strong interest in the 24-year-old right-hander and they have enough ammunition to make a legitimate offer for him.
The Tigers have also been in serious discussions with the San Diego Padres, proposing deals that would involve either Luke Gregerson or Huston Street. Both are solid late-inning relievers and the Padres have not shown that they are willing to part ways with either of them.
The Rangers have not made much progress in negotiating with the Tigers, and San Diego does have interest, but they are not willing to give up any players of value to acquire Porcello.
Another possible suitor for Porcello is the Seattle Mariners. Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported that the Tigers have shown interest in re-acquiring outfielder Casper Wells, who was traded to Seattle from Detroit for RHP Doug Fister before the trade deadline in 2011.
A swap of Porcello and Wells would make sense for both sides. The Tigers have a need for a right-handed bat in the outfield, for a potential platoon with Quintin Berry. Also, Torii Hunter is 38 and cannot play every day, so Wells would be a solid fit for Jim Leyland’s lineup.
From the Mariners perspective, Wells may not have a spot on the roster. With the acquisitions of other talented outfielders like Michael Morse, Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez. The Mariners have plenty of depth in the outfield, so Wells is expendable at this point.
Although he is only 24, Porcello has a lot of MLB experience, with 48 wins and a 4.55 ERA in 120 starts over four full seasons in the Tigers rotation.
After Felix Hernandez and Joe Saunders, nobody in the Mariners rotation has more than one full season of major league experience. Porcello’s experience could be a valuable commodity for the Mariners if they want to make a playoff run in 2013.
I would be very surprised to see Rick Porcello pitching for the Tigers when the season starts. GM Dave Dombrowski has plenty of trade options for his young right-hander, but he should strongly consider sending Porcello to the Mariners for Casper Wells.