The Tigers lost one potential suitor for Rick Porcello after the Angels acquired left-hander Jason Vargas from the Mariners yesterday, but the young right-hander is still drawing plenty of interest around the majors.
FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Mariners and Orioles are among the teams who have talked to the Tigers about a possible trade involving Porcello. Morosi reported earlier today that the Orioles are in talks with free agent left-hander Joe Saunders, so Porcello would represent an alternative track. If the Mariners don’t find a replacement for Vargas via trade or free agency, they could give Blake Beavan a rotation spot until one of their youngsters are ready.
Porcello, who turns 24 next week, owns a 4.55 ERA over his first four seasons in the majors. The 2007 first-round pick earned $3.1 million this past season while posting a 4.59 ERA and 107/44 K/BB ratio over 176 1/3 innings. He’s on track to get another raise in arbitration this winter and remains under team control through 2014.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.
File this under “man, that would’ve been cool.” Or, if you’re a Tigers fan, file it under “man, that would’ve signaled several years of misery.” However you fall on the matter, however, know that, according to Jon Heyman, the Dodgers inquired about trading for Justin Verlander over the winter.
It never went anywhere, but it’s not like it was silliness for the Dodgers to ask. As you may recall, the Tigers were reported to be willing to listen to offers on any and all players back in November, as GM Al Avila contemplated a tear-down. That never came to pass — the Tigers had a quiet offseason and are keeping the team together to make another run at the playoffs with the Verlander/Miguel Cabrera core — but it couldn’t hurt to ask.
Verlander, who is coming off a resurgent season which saw him return to form as one of baseball’s best pitchers, has 10-5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade. He’s married to an actress/model, however, owns a home in L.A., and the Dodgers are a clear contender, so there’s a good chance he would’ve allowed such a trade to happen. Heck, dude even loves pitchers batting, so a chance to do it all the time would be right up his alley.
The bigger issue likely would’ve been Verlander’s $28 million salary. The Dodgers already pay the luxury tax so taking on that commitment would cost them more than the sticker price. And, of course, if the Tigers are going to ever give up one of the best players in franchise history, it would take the motherlode of prospects to do it.
So, no, a Verlander-to-L.A. trade wasn’t ever a strong possibility. But even the slight possibility seems exciting in hindsight. It was a boring as hell offseason.