As the Tigers continue to tweak their roster for another run at the AL pennant, starter Rick Porcello could be on his way out of Detroit and there are plenty of teams interested, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
Porcello burst onto the scene in 2009, going 14-9 with a 3.96 ERA as a 20-year-old rookie to finish third in Rookie of the Year voting. After the season, it appeared the Tigers had a second ace in the making alongside Justin Verlander.
However in three years since then, Porcello has gone 34-33 with a 4.75 ERA and has been among the most hittable pitchers in all of baseball at 10.8 H/9 for an unimpressive 1.443 WHIP.
That, combined with an expectantly low strikeout rate given the fact that he's a sinker ball pitcher, has meant a number of rough starts for Porcello over that time.
However, there is no ignoring the fact that he's won 48 games before the age of 24 and there is certainly still plenty of intriguing upside for a team looking to add a middle-of-the-rotation guy with the potential to be more.
The Tigers signing or trading for a starter would have to be a precursor to any Porcello trade, as they currently have Porcello and Drew Smyly slated to fill the last two rotation spots and really have no one capable of stepping in behind them.
As Knobler pointed out in the article, Anibal Sanchez is the only starter that the team has really pursued to this point, but that could certainly change in the days and weeks ahead as the pitching market takes better shape.
So if the team does decide to make Porcello available, where does he wind up? Here is a look at three teams who could be a good fit:
The Brewers have been quiet so far this off-season, but the need remains for another proven starter behind Yovani Gallardo in what figures to be a very young rotation. Michael Fiers, Wily Peralta, Tyler Thornburg and Mark Rogers will all be vying for spots on the staff.
Porcello is second time arbitration eligible this season, and will get a raise over the $3.1 million he made last season, but he remains a fairly low-cost option that would allow the Brewers to do other things this off-season as well.
Chief among those other things would be shoring up a bullpen that was among the worst in baseball last season, and perhaps the team could work a deal to land a big league ready reliever along with Porcello for a bigger package of prospects.
The Red Sox have spent big already this off-season to fill out their offense, adding Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes. However, their starting rotation still needs work.
Behind Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, the team currently has Felix Doubront, John Lackey and Franklin Morales slated to fill out the rotation.
Adding Porcello would give them a solid third option, and allow them to return Morales to the swing-man role that he thrived in last season.
Doubront showed promise in his first year in the rotation last season, and the team is more or less stuck trying to get what they can out of Lackey's contract. However, adding Porcello to that mix would immediately improve the entire staff.
The Padres have built an impressive core of talent despite their low payroll, but starting pitching remains the area that will hold them back for the time being.
Edinson Volquez and Clayton Richard are solid, and there are a number of arms progressing through the system, but the upcoming season's rotation appears as though it'll be filled out by the off-season acquisitions Jason Marquis, Tyson Ross and the incumbent Eric Stults.
A ground ball pitcher like Porcello would not necessarily have a greater advantage pitching in Petco Park, but he'd benefit nonetheless. The fact that he is young and controllable fits with what the Padres are trying to do in building for the future, but he also helps them immediately.