Could Orioles ship Jim Johnson for Porcello?

Rob Carr

The trade would give the Orioles a much-needed starter and the Tigers an experienced closer.

With the Tigers reportedly looking for a shortstop or late-inning reliever in exchange for Rick Porcello, Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports wonders if the Orioles would consider sending Jim Johnson to Detroit for the starter. The trade would give the Orioles a starter they covet and Johnson could help fill the hole in the back end of the Tigers bullpen.

Porcello, 24, is coming off a 10-12 season with a 4.59 ERA and is still three seasons away from free agency. His numbers could also benefit from having a superior defense in Baltimore. Porcello is 48-42 with a 4.55 ERA over four seasons. He has won at least 10 games in each of his major-league seasons.

Johnson, 29, was an All-Star last season. He was 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA and a league-leading 51 saves in his first season as a closer. The right-hander is 15-18 with a 3.14 ERA and 72 saves in his career.

The Orioles had the best bullpen in baseball last season and subtracting Johnson from that would sting. Morosi notes that Pedro Strop or Luis Ayala could move to the closer role, or the club could sign Brian Wilson, Jose Valverde, Brandon Lyon or Matt Lindstrom.

The Tigers have Drew Smyly to step into the fifth spot in their rotation. They have decided to part ways with Valverde and are slated to use 22-year old Bruce Rondon as their closer. However, a team with World Series aspirations may not be ready to hand the ninth inning over to a player who has yet to throw a pitch in a major league game.

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