According to a report from USA Today writer Bob Nightengale, the Arizona Diamondbacks are going to use part of their trade chips acquired from the Atlanta Braves in the Justin Upton trade to tempt the Detroit Tigers into trading for pitcher Rick Porcello.
Maybe the potential trade could be part of a bigger package involving other major leaguers. On the surface, this could work out for both the Diamondbacks and the Tigers. The Diamondbacks would be getting a young starting pitcher in Porcello, who is still only 24 years old and might benefit from playing in the National League.
Porcello still needs to develop his breaking ball, but has the potential to be a No. 2 or No. 3 pitcher in a starting rotation. And maybe he could use a change of scenery.
Porcello has been linked to the Diamondbacks recently, including on January 14th when Jon Paul Morosi from Fox Sports mentioned the team's interest in him.
Which team would benefit the most from this trade?
From the Tigers' perspective, maybe acquiring a young shortstop in Nick Ahmed would be enticing, since they have wanted a defensive shortstop with range for a while and Bill Ballew from Baseball America ranked him the Braves' top infield defensive prospect.
Nightengale's report mentioned that the Tigers may also be offered a pitching prospect—which the team could always use—even though it appears that Ahmed would be the key, as he showed promise in the Arizona Fall League.
Regardless of the pitching prospect, acquiring a defensive shortstop prospect could be the best outcome for the Tigers in an offseason filled with trade rumors involving Porcello. The Tigers would now be able to slot pitcher Drew Smyly into the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation, and not have to worry about Porcello winning the competition in spring training.
For now, it looks like the Tigers would be comfortable with Jhonny Peralta remaining the starting shortstop, as Jim Leyland praised him yesterday to Tom Gage of the Detroit News:
He is going to look real good when he comes (to spring training, Leyland said. And he has a chance to play good. Most people don't look at all the good things he does.
He's a good major-league player. Does he have as much range as some of the other shortstops? Does he handle the ball as good as all of them and throw as accurately? Yes, he does.
This makes sense if the Tigers are now focusing on a shortstop with range for future years.
Stay tuned, as I'll keep you posted on any developments.