Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello has opted out of his contract and is now eligible for salary arbitration, reports James Schmehl of MLive.com. The 27th overall pick of the 2007 draft, Porcello signed a four-year, $7.285MM pact (plus club options for 2011 and 2012) as his first Major League contract. Porcello, however, had the right to opt out of the final year of that contract and in doing so, the Tigers are spared the no-brainer decision of exercising their $1.344MM option on Porcello for next season. Detroit still has the righty under team control through the 2015 season.
This move was widely expected and became even more of a sure thing once Porcello qualified for Super Two status and gained an extra year of arbitration eligibility. Matt Swartz's MLBTR-exclusive arbitration model projects Porcello to earn a $4.2MM salary through arbitration this winter. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said he hadn't exchanged figures with Porcello's representatives about a 2012 contract.
Porcello, who turned 23 last week, has a 4.54 ERA, a 2.04 K/BB rate and a 51.9% ground ball rate in 89 career Major League starts. He has also proven himself to have a durable arm, averaging 172 innings pitched over his three seasons.