Roundtable: Trade Rick Porcello?

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: Should the Tigers trade starting pitcher Rick Porcello?

Paul Wezner, Executive Editor

Anyone that has heard me on our weekly podcast or follows me on Twitter knows that I'm not thrilled with the idea of trading Rick Porcello, given the potential holes it could open up on the team. That being said, I'm beginning to come around to the idea of moving him, provided it's not simply a player dump for little return. Right now, it could be argued that the best reason for keeping him is that another starting pitcher might get hurt, and in all likelihood, that will happen. That being said, is that a good enough reason to hold on to a valuable trade chip that might not have much of a future left with the organization? I'm not sure. With the starting rotation the Tigers currently have, and all of them likely to be owed significant dollars within the next two to three years, Porcello days are likely numbered anyway, whether it's this year or next. Moving him now provides the opportunity to make an upgrade somewhere on the club, whether that's a better defensive shortstop, a left fielder to share time with Andy Dirks, a late inning reliever, or even for a pair of minor leaguers that could help re-stock a farm system that currently has a void of talent that is a year or two away (most is either close to big league ready, or three-plus years away). And if an injury comes up that they need another starting pitcher to fill and Casey Crosby and others fail, well, then they'll like be re-packaging a similar return to find a new option. So, if value is there, and you can pull the trigger, I say go for it.

Mark Anderson, Managing Editor

No. The Detroit Tigers should not trade Rick Porcello, unless they are overwhelmed by an offer. Porcello is an extremely valuable commodity and while his performance has not matched the excessive expectations placed on him after he signed, that doesn't diminish his value to the big league club. At 24-years old, Porcello has logged nearly 700 innings of near league average pitching. He has made exactly 31 starts in three of his four seasons, with the lone exception being his 27-start 2010 campaign. He is an extremely durable pitcher that is capable of keeping the team in the game every fifth day. On the open market, that type of assetcommands serious money, and while the Tigers control him, they should demand a serious ransom if another team wants his services. Walking into spring training with Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly set to battle it out for the fifth spot in the rotation is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Not only does it provide a team with it's sights set on the World Series with a backup option in case of injury, the Tigers will also have the potential to maximize value for Porcello at the end of spring training if injury bites another team. Rick Porcello could be traded, and it would likely be a defensible move, but I can't understand the rush to usher him out of town for a nominal upgrade or solid prospect haul at this point in the off-season.

Jason Klatt, Staff Writer

Unless the Tigers are able to receive a package that gives them a better chance to win the World Series in 2013 I do not think they should trade Rick Porcello. Rarely does a team make it through the entire season with just five starters and having Porcello or Drew Smyly as depth provides the Tigers with a strong insurance option should one of the starters go down. If the team were to trade Porcello, relying on Smyly to pitch 150 innings this season is a big risk in itself considering his injury and durability concerns dating back to college. Also, Porcello himself has value to the Tigers due to the fact that he is still only 23 years old and under club control through 2015. While he is not the ace many Tigers fans have hoped for, he is still an above average fifth starter that is very durable and shows signs of future development.

James Chipman, Lakeland Correspondent

Projected to fetch north of $4 million in arbitration, Porcello hasn't posted an ERA below last season's dismal 4.59 mark since his rookie campaign back in 2009. With Anibal Sanchez inked and Drew Smyly champing at the bit for the final slot, rumors indicate that Porcello should be shopped to fill remaining roster voids. The problem is that the return for Porcello would likely be minimal. Additionally, his exit would further deplete the Tigers' paper-thin rotation depth that currently features just Casey Crosby and Shawn Hill. Call me an optimist, but I still believe in Rick Porcello. The 24-year-old has three years of control remaining and is entering the prime of his career. Historically a victim of Detroit's atrocious defense, maybe, just maybe, a full season of Omar Infante and Tori Hunter will help right the ship and at least marginally improve last season's MLB worst .332 BABIP. Overall, the Tigers are better off holding onto Porcello.

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