Rick Porcello is the Tigers’ fifth starter

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Most spring training was littered with Rick Porcello trade rumors. Porcello himself apparently tuned them out because all he did was pitch really well and make the Tigers’ rotation:

 

He won the spot over left-hander Drew Smyly, who will pitch out of the bullpen to start the season. This always seemed to make more sense to me — or at least to have Smyly start in Toledo — than to trade Porcello now. The Tigers are the division favorites and everyone thinks their rotation is more or less OK because it’s spring and that’s what people think in spring. If Detroit has holes to fill as the season goes on they’ll find many more desperate-for-pitching teams with which to deal and will have a better plan from which to proceed.

The Cards dealt Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, in part, so he could be near his ailing mother

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Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.

Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.

Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:

This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.

The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.

As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.