Rick Porcello made his sixth start of Spring Training on Monday afternoon and was impressive yet again. In 24 innings, he hasn't walked a batter and is striking out almost eight hitters per nine innings. Look, I don't give a Tuiasosopo if you think Spring Training doesn't mean anything — Porcello has never been better.
So yeah, his value is at an all-time high — why don't we just fucking trade him?
Lynn Henning and Tony Paul of The Detroit News are convinced the Tigers will trade the 24 year old before Opening Day:
A week till Opening Day and I still say the #Tigers work out a Rick Porcello trade.
— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) March 25, 2013
Only on Opening Day and if he's still in Detroit will I believe Rangers haven't traded for Porcello. Simply makes too much sense.
— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) March 25, 2013
I actually like Lynn Henning, but trading Porcello doesn't make any sense to me. Sure, the Tigers have six viable starting pitchers for five spots – it makes fine sense in that light – but that's awfully shortsighted. We need 5, but we have 6, so how do we make 5? Sabermetrics, of course.
Porcello has been underwhelming to say the least in four big league seasons, but expectations aside, the kid's been a reliable 4-5 starter his entire career. Sure, he was supposed to be an ace in the making, but that's no longer needed right now. Did I mention that Porcello's only 24?!
Drew Smyly, who has only one season of MLB experience under his belt, will be 24 in June. He's good, a lefty and probably doesn't wear graphic tees and gel his hair, but the Tigers can't be as confident in knowing what they will get out of him for an entire season.
But pitching depth is important. The Tigers have averaged over 10 starting pitchers per season dating back to 2006. In a 162-game season, spot starts arise and I'd rather have those innings eaten by Smyly (or Porcello) than anybody else in the Tigers' system. Unless the haul is worth it, and I'm thinking big league ready gap filler, it makes more sense to hang on to Porcello and let Smyly start the year in Toledo. Re-assess things at the trade deadline.