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?

2 Comments

The rotation might have a major rotation hole to fill this offseason (if Max can’t stay in detroit). But that doesn’t mean it needs to – or should be – filled back to before. A top tier rotation (historically good) loses 1 of 3 great pitchers (fister was “good” last year) with 2 other guys improving (Porcello and Smyly seem on pace to continue improving their games, with rick working on his curve and smyly working at a starter now)….spend the money on positional players (e.g. C, OF, SS maybe)
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To me it seems like if a ballplayer has an injury or health issue – whatever the size – getting it taken care of in november-december is optimal for both player and organization. I am probably missing something, but otherwise it sure seems like Iggy and Andy could have spared us everyone this drama. Any idea’s why now?
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A shame too, because this team really needed offensive contributions from LF (regardless of how) and substantially better infield defense (3B: Miggy~Cast, 2B: Kinsler~Omar, 1B: Miggy>Prince). But best not to trade a starter unless it’s for Stanton.

seems to me Dombrowski likes to trade from a position of organizational depth to shore up an organizational weakness. saw that with the trades of Fister and Garcia. beyond the starting 5, not great depth there currently, though if both Ray and VerHagen start knocking on the MLB door soon, the rotation will be ripe again for change.
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