January 14th, 2013

Porcello trade? Maybe, but not for Hardy

Tired of the Hall of Fame debate already? How about another round of Rick Porcello and Tigers shortstop rumors?

OK, maybe not.

I have no doubt the Tigers and Cubs discussed a deal for Porcello. The fit for Porcello in Chicago is too good not to — a National League team with an outstanding infield defense and a rebuilding plan looking at a pitcher with a good track record and lots more room for development at the age of 24. As Tigers-Cubs trade rumors go, and we’ve heard some shaky ones over the last couple years, this one actually made some sense, though the fit reportedly doesn’t work from the Tigers’ standpoint.

A three-team deal for J.J. Hardy, though? Not happening.

Roch Kubatko of MASN pretty well said as much when he floated the rumor last week, noting the O’s would have to be overwhelmed to give up Hardy even with Manny Machado as their shortstop in waiting. Other indications suggest the same. If the idea got floated, it didn’t get far. Nor does a Porcello-Hardy swap with the O’s, either straight up or in a package, appear doable.

That leaves the Tigers in the same spot where they were three weeks ago, when Dave Dombrowski got slightly more definitive statement about their position than he had been at the winter meetings.

“Peralta is our shortstop,” Dombrowski said at the time.

That remains the stance, and the Tigers are now ready to head into the season with Peralta at short. They’ve tracked Cuban defector Aledmys Diaz in the past, and one would expect they’ll watch his workout for clubs whenever it happens, but any interest is nowhere near the level of interest they demonstrated in Yoenis Cespedes last offseason, and not near the interest other clubs (10, according to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez) have shown in Diaz so far. They could still end up getting a shortstop in a trade package for Porcello, but probably not one who’s ready for the big leagues.

FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi reported late last night that the Mariners and Diamondbacks have had contact with the Tigers on Porcello. Seattle is a team that could make sense. Unlike some other teams, the M’s have a middle infield prospect worth watching in former first-round pick Nick Franklin, a switch-hitter who made it to Triple-A last year at age 21. Whether he’s a fit at SS (he split last season between SS and 2B) is a good question, but he’s intriguing at either spot.

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