March 9th, 2014

Dombrowski: We’re not trading any of our starters

The Tigers had a flurry of trade rumors surrounding their starting pitchers over the offseason until Doug Fister went to Washington. That seemingly ended the rotation speculation. Then came a Sunday report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe regarding Rick Porcello:

The Tigers are said to be willing to listen to offers on him, according major league sources. Porcello is once again at the back end of the Tiger rotation. While still young and promising, the Tigers need more consistency in the rotation. The Tigers took lefty Robbie Ray in the Doug Fister deal, but Ray is likely not quite ready to make the jump.

No sooner did the report hit MLB Trade Rumors than Dave Dombrowski denied any trade talks on any of their starting pitchers, including Porcello.

“We’re not trading any of our starting pitchers,” Dombrowski said. “I don’t know where that came from, but that is totally inaccurate. … We haven’t mentioned his name to one person. No one has called me [about him].”

Logistically, the rumor doesn’t make sense at the moment. If this were last spring, and the Tigers had a ready replacement, than one could see the Tigers gauging interest. Porcello has two seasons to go, including this one, before free agency, so the Tigers have a decision to make about his long-term future. History suggests most teams try to make that decision with starting pitchers two years out from free agency.

Once the Tigers traded Fister, however, they went from six viable starters to five. If somebody gets hurt, their next man up would likely be Jose Alvarez or Kyle Lobstein. Ray is expected to start at Triple-A Toledo, and even that is seen as an aggressive promotion by some. Unless the Tigers can re-sign Max Scherzer, they’ll have a major rotation hole to fill this offseason. A Porcello trade would open up another.

From a performance standpoint, trading Porcello now would not be trading at his peak value. If one believes Porcello is set to benefit from an improved infield defense, then trading now could be argued as selling low.

It still isn’t the craziest rumor this offseason regarding the Tigers rotation. Remember the Ervin Santana rumor?

Sunday: Tigers at Marlins

Miguel Cabrera, Alex Avila and Nick Castellanos all make their offseason homes in south Florida, so it figures that they would be the three Tigers slated to be in the starting lineup both days on this two-game trip to Jupiter. Ian Kinsler and Austin Jackson are joining them on this leg.

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Trevor Crowe, LF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Alex Avila, DH
5. Austin Jackson, CF
6. Tyler Collins, RF
7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
8. Bryan Holaday, C
9. Hernan Perez, SS
P: Rick Porcello, Ian Krol, Evan Reed, Jose Alvarez, Luis Marte, Jhan Marinez

1. Rafael Furcal, 2B
2. Christian Yelich, LF
3. Mike Stanton, RF
4. Garrett Jones, 1B
5. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
6. Marcell Ozuna, CF
7. Casey McGehee, 3B
8. Greg Dobbs, DH
9. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
P: Tom Koehler