The Detroit Tigers are open to trading Max Scherzer or Rick Porcello this offseason, according to a tweet from CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. Scherzer, 29, is expected to be named the AL's Cy Young Award winner on Wednesday.
#tigers have told teams they're open to trading either scherzer or porcello— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 11, 2013
The Tigers can afford to deal one of their young, cost controlled starters due to a surplus of starting pitching. Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, and Doug Fister are all locked up through at least the 2015 season, and if the club were to deal one of Scherzer of Porcello, the Tigers could transition reliever Drew Smyly back to the rotation, which would still give them one of the best rotations in baseball, with each member age 30 or younger.
Dealing one of their starters could enable Detroit to cement one or more of multiple holes that the club will need to fill in order to optimize their World Series hopes for 2014.
With Omar Infante and Jhonny Peralta currently free agents, the club has openings at both second base and in left field, as well as an incredibly thin bullpen.
Any deal involving Scherzer or Porcello would also most likely bring back some much needed prospects to bolster what is currently one of the worst farm systems in baseball.
Scherzer, a former first round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks and a key part of the famous 2009 three-team trade that landed Curtis Granderson in New York, Austin Jackson and Scherzer (and Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth) in Detroit, and Ian Kennedy and Edwin Jackson in Arizona, has emerged as one of the premier starting pitchers in baseball this year. After averaging 191 strikeouts and a 3.94 ERA in 187 innings from 2009-2012, Scherzer put together a career-year in 2013 as he went a league best 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA, 2.74 FIP, 0.97 WHIP, and 240 strikeouts in just over 214 innings pitched. A first time All-Star in 2013, Scherzer posted a 6.7 WAR and is the leading candidate to win the AL Cy Young award later this week.
Despite his sheer dominance on the field, Scherzer's value is diminished by the fact that he is arbitration-eligible for the final time this offseason and will become a free agent following the end of next season. Any team that trades for him would likely have to shell out a contract well north of $100 million to lock him up long term.
Porcello still has two years of club control remaining, but the soon-to-be 25-year-old isn't quite on Scherzer's level on the field. After a promising rookie year in 2009, Porcello was a below-average pitcher from 2010-2012 before having a slight rebound in 2013. This year, he went 13-8 with a 4.32 ERA in 177 innings. His 2.4 WAR was the second best mark of his career.
The Tigers figure to be busy on this winter's free agent market, with the club having already been linked to Grant Balfour, Joe Nathan, and mega-star Robinson Cano.
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