If the Rangers are interested in Porcello, the Tigers would probably ask for a pitcher who can close to provide insurance for Bruce Rondon's rocky start to spring training.
Porcello has been the subject of trade rumors since Anibal Sanchez re-signed with the Tigers in December. While Porcello was linked to many teams this past offseason, his name hasn't been linked to a specific team since he was connected to the Arizona Diamondbacks after the Justin Upton trade on January 24. While those trade rumors never materialized, teams are still interested in Porcello.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that there were several scouts watching Porcello pitch on Monday.
Porcello has been pitching well in spring training, where he is involved in a competition with Drew Smyly for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.
Porcello has shown great command of his pitches during spring training—he has yet to walk a batter in eight innings. While Porcello has never been known as a strikeout pitcher, he has already racked up 10.
At 24 years old and with four years of major league experience, it appears Porcello may have finally figured out how to put everything together to be a successful pitcher.
Due to Porcello's strong start, baseball writer Peter Gammons tweeted on March 3 that scouts are impressed with him so far.
Every scout that's seen Rick Porcello says he's throwing better than ever before. Why trade him for anything but a proven closer?— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) March 3, 2013
So the question remains, if Porcello is throwing the ball so well, why wouldn't the Tigers let him be their No. 5 starter and have Smyly start in Triple-A?
The Tigers appear to favor Smyly for the last spot in the rotation due to the fact that he's a left-hander. He has also pitched well so far in spring training even though he's been overshadowed by Porcello. Smyly currently has a 0.00 ERA in five innings pitched.
Regardless, Porcello's strong start to spring training gives the Tigers an opportunity to possibly start a bidding war among teams who need starting pitching.
*All statistics are as of March 4
**All statistics are from Baseball-Reference.com