Danny Knobler says the Cubs and Tigers did speak about Rick Porcello, now that he’s expendable, but the two sides didn’t find a fit. The Tigers are alternatively listeningon lefty Drew Smyly, who might be a more attractive target for the Cubs. No word on whether they’ve reached out on Smyly, specifically, or what the cost would be. I’m thinking the answer would be “steep,” given that he’s just 23, under control through 2018, made it to the big leagues in just his second professional season, and pitched effectively during that stint.
After a spirited discussion with New Guy (TM) — and by the way, if you’re running a blog and you don’t know everything, don’t be afraid to enlist a knowledgeable and friendly New Guy (TM) to help a brother out — we thought out the following scenarios…
To begin, we kind of agreed in principle that Porcello sucks. He can eat a few innings and he isn’t absolutely terrible, but he doesn’t strike out enough guys, he gets hammered quite a bit and while he would be switching from a crappy division in the AL to a crappy division in the NL (which is no longer as crappy by the way) the numbers are unlikely to improve very much. Which is why we elected to focus on Drew Smyly.
As Brett noted, and as we discussed, Smyly is younger (turns 24 next season), is under team control for at least the next six years, and has solid upside, which New Guy (TM) thinks gives him a ceiling of a number two pitcher. There have been some mega-trades involving pitchers just this offseason where elite prospects changed hands. We floated the idea of using Matt Garza straight up, but the problem is that Garza is recovering from a wacky forearm injury, and despite being cleared for baseball activity, would likely not bring a good haul until spring training at the earliest if he’s simply lights out in his few starts (most GMs not named Jim Hendry won’t weight spring training production that heavily though) and more likely at midseason when he’s got a couple months and about 15 starts under his belt. If Garza had been healthy last July he might have been traded straight up for Smyly, but probably not now. I doubt Detroit is that desperate.
So we turn to prospects. John Sickels has a list of the Cubs’ top prospects entering 2013 that we can use as a guide. Being that Smyly is young, good enough at baseball that the sky is still the limit, and cheap and cost controlled for six more seasons, it’s going to take a big haul. MLB rules prevent recent draftees from being traded within a year of draft date so guys like Albert Almora are out. Javier Baez is the top prospect and with such a bare farm system you have to imagine the Cubs want to hold on to him, so he’s out too.
Looking at Detroit’s needs, perhaps they need some outfield help since ALCS MVP (trololol) Delmon Young is gone and they may not want to have a platoon at both corners to flank Austin Jackson. Jhonny Peralta (I hate that spelling) is old and lacks range at shortstop so maybe they need a shortstop, especially if Miguel Cabrera continues to man the hot corner. I don’t know enough about Detroit’s system to make any sweeping judgments, but from an outsider’s point of view, aside from more pitching (which everyone needs), those seem to be Detroit’s pressing needs.
We ended up suggesting a straight-up swap of any combination of Brett Jackson, Junior Lake, Dillon Maples and Dan Vogelbach for Smyly. It seems hefty, but considering the kind of pitcher Drew Smyly might turn out to be, it might be a good starter package. Hell, the Tigers may throw a C-level prospect in with the gift basket because the Cubs were so nice.
Obviously we don’t know how much Theo and Jed value Drew Smyly, nor do we know how Tigers management view their own pitching situation, but we feel that this possibility needs to at least be discussed. A phone call never hurt anyone, and after throwing all that money at Anibal Sanchez, maybe Detroit needs a laugh.