Why are so many teams interested in Rick Porcello?

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This month has been filled with reports about teams trying to trade for Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello and as a response to that some prominent media members have even taken to saying Detroit would be making a big mistake by trading him.

Young starting pitching is always in demand and Porcello is a 24-year-old former first-round pick who’s 6-foot-5 and throws hard, but his actual performance has been mediocre at best.

Last season among the 100 pitchers to make at least 25 starts Porcello ranked 81st in ERA (4.59), 93rd in strikeouts per nine innings (5.5), and 99th in opponents’ batting average (.310). And those underwhelming numbers are very much in line with the rest of his career, which includes a 4.55 ERA, 5.0 strikeouts per nine innings, and a .290 opponents’ batting average in 120 total starts spread over four seasons.

Obviously he’s still young enough to improve, but at no point in the minors or the majors has Porcello shown any kind of ability to miss bats and because of that he’s given up a ton of hits and a ton of runs. He’s also already expensive despite being just 24 and not performing very well, making $5.1 million this season with raises due via arbitration in 2014 and 2015.

I just don’t get it.