Porcello has made #Tigers rotation. Smyly to bullpen.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) March 26, 2013
Porcello, who has pitched terrifically in spring training, was the subject of speculation throughout the offseason and training camp regarding being traded.
Porcello was recently linked to the Texas Rangers by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi.
That Porcello "won" the No. 5 spot in the Tigers' rotation over Drew Smyly shouldn't be the surprise—it's that Porcello is still on the team.
Porcello, who has a 3.00 earned run average (ERA) in spring training in 24 innings pitched, had no walks and 21 strikeouts. The 24-year-old exhibited great command of his breaking ball, which has sometimes eluded him over his major league career.
Still, Porcello has 48 career wins in four major league seasons and looks to finally be realizing his full potential.
Smyly, who still made the Tigers by pitching out of the bullpen, is a favorite of the Tigers' coaching staff and front office.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski spoke with Sirius XM's Jim Duquette on Jan. 16 about Porcello and Smyly (h/t MLive.com) and the pitching competition between the two:
You've got two guys who we think can both start.
I'd think you'd have to say Porcello has a leg up because he's got more experience at that point, but Smyly did such a good job for us last year and you ideally want a left-hander in your rotation.
Smyly had a very good spring as well, ending up with a 3.38 ERA in 21.1 innings and appears to have a future with the Tigers.
Don't expect the Tigers' front office to hold on to Porcello if they get a trade offer that meets their asking price. Porcello has raised his stock around the major league with his great performance and several teams will still be interested in him.
Porcello's trade value will continue to rise if he continues to pitch well. The Tigers are handling the Porcello-Smyly situation as best as they can. Teams can never have enough pitching and the Tigers currently have an excess of riches with their starting pitching.
If Porcello is traded, expect a huge return that will greatly benefit the Tigers into the future. If they don't trade him, then they have a pitcher who will only keep getting better.
At this point though, my prediction is that Porcello will not remain with the Tigers past the July trade deadline, as they push toward trying to win the World Series.
*All statistics are as of March 25
**All statistics are from baseball-reference.com