Detroit Tigers Update: Dombrowski Sends Mixed Signals About Porcello

Brett KaplanCorrespondent IIIJanuary 16, 2013

Will Porcello still be in the rotation once the season starts?
Will Porcello still be in the rotation once the season starts?Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

According to Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski, Rick Porcello has a "leg up" in the competition for the Tigers' No. 5 starting rotation spot with pitcher Drew Smyly.

People can look at Dombrowski's comments in one of two ways. 

The first is that the Tigers still feel that 24-year-old Porcello is young enough to still develop his breaking ball and develop into the pitcher they thought he would be after drafting him out of high school.

The second option, which is much more likely, is that Dombrowski and the Tigers aren't satisfied with any trade offers they've received up to this point and want to raise Porcello's value by making it appear that the Tigers are not trading him.

Dombrowski told SiriusXM's Jim Duquette this afternoon that:

Smyly did such a good job for us last year and, ideally, you want a left-hander in your rotation. So I don't know which way that will end up going, but Porcello would have to be a leader. And Porcello is a fine big-league pitcher. I mean, last year, I know he was down a little bit when you look at it,'re looking at a guy who's 24 years of age that has won 45 games at the big-league level.

Dombrowski's answer came after receiving a leading question by being asked if Porcello is considered a front-runner for that last rotation spot. Dombrowski revealed in his comments—without saying as much—that the Tigers would be happier with Smyly in the rotation because he's a left-hander.

Dowbrowski came off like a salesman in that his comments were mostly directed at the other GMs around the league to come and blow the Tigers away with an offer for a quality young starting pitcher who has proven himself.