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Rick Porcello Could Become A Trade Chip

10:16pm: Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that Jim Leyland categorically denied the Porcello trade rumor this afternoon.  "There's not a chance that Rick Porcello is going to be traded," Leyland said.  "That's a lie. That's not even speculation." 

1:33pm: The Tigers haven’t ruled out trading Rick Porcello, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. They pushed the 21-year-old's next Triple A start back a day, though it’s not because of an injury. GM Dave Dombrowski said he doesn’t plan to move Porcello, but acknowledged that anything could happen.

“I don’t ever use the word ‘untouchable’ on any players,” Dombrowski said. “But he’s not a guy we’re looking to trade.”

The Tigers have tens of millions coming off the books after the season, since Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis all have contracts that expire. That could make it easier for the Tigers to add a top starter this year.

Cliff Lee won’t likely be on the market for long and Roy Oswalt would not accept a deal to Detroit, but the Tigers could pursue Dan Haren. The Tigers have sent Edwin Jackson and Willis to Arizona in recent trades, though that was when Josh Byrnes was running the D’Backs.

Porcello followed up his breakout 2009 season with a disappointing 13-start stint in the Tigers' rotation. He posted a 6.14 ERA in the majors and has since posted a 4.29 mark in three minor league starts.

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