Rick Porcello Rumors

Padres Notes: Garcia, Guzman, Porcello, Byrnes

Freddy Garcia hasn't pitched well for the Padres during Spring Training and is open to being moved to the bullpen rather than the starting rotation, the veteran righty tells Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.  What Garcia won't accept, however, is a minor league assignment.  “The bullpen, why not?” Garcia said. “But I’ll go home at the end of spring training rather than go to Triple-A. I want to pitch. But I’m not going to Triple-A.”  Garcia signed a minor league deal with the Padres in January.  He is scheduled to start on Saturday, an outing that Center thinks "might be an audition for another team seeking pitching."

Here are some more items about the Friars from Center's recent chat with fans…

  • The Padres explored trading for Rick Porcello last winter and asked the Tigers if they had any interest in Jesus Guzman as part of the deal.  San Diego reportedly turned down a recent offer of Porcello for Huston Street or Luke Gregerson, though Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has denied offering Porcello to anyone.
  • General manager Josh Byrnes said yesterday that he isn't currently involved in any talks for Porcello.
  • Center doesn't see the value in acquiring Porcello since Detroit's asking price is too high for a pitcher who Center feels isn't necessarily better than the Padres' young arms.
  • Padres ownership has given Byrnes the go-ahead to make moves and signed off on "a major offseason deal" that Byrnes was interested in but didn't end up coming together.
  • Center believes the club's management team wouldn't be in danger of losing their jobs in the case of a 90-loss season "but this is baseball.  Things change with the wind."

Olney On Chapman, Dodgers, Cabrera, Tigers

"[Aroldis] Chapman stands to lose millions of dollars by committing himself to a relief role," writes ESPN's Buster Olney in his latest column (Insider subscription required).  The fact that Chapman likes closing enough to risk these future riches, however, makes Olney think the Reds are making the right move by keeping Chapman in the bullpen as the club pursues a World Series title.  "Chapman doesn't have a plow horse's show-me-the-direction approach; he's known to be a complicated guy, and if he were to fight [starting] internally all year, it would be a mess," Olney says.

Here are some more items from Olney…

  • Rival executives think Asdrubal Cabrera will be on the trade block if the Indians get off to a slow start.  Olney speculates that the Dodgers could be players for Cabrera in the wake of Hanley Ramirez's thumb injury, though for now the Dodgers are satisfied to use internal options on the left side of their infield.
  • The Tigers "have not made a single specific proposal to another team, asking for a particular player" in exchange for Rick Porcello.  Detroit has told teams that they will listen to offers for the right-hander but only in exchange for Major League players, not prospects.  Several teams have been linked to Porcello, with the Padres and Rangers showing the most recent interest.
  • "Nothing is close" between the Giants and Buster Posey on a long-term extension.  We heard earlier this week that the two sides were still deciding the length of the possible new contract.  Olney believes that Joey Votto's recent extension with the Reds could be a model for Posey's new deal since Posey is athletic enough to handle playing third base or first base later his career.

Multiple Teams Pursuing Rick Porcello

6:53pm: Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski vehemently denied that he had proposed any deals involving Porcello, including any offers to the Padres, reports Lynn Henning of The Detroit News. Dombrowski acknowledged that his "phone has been ringing a lot," and added that "this is the best I've ever seen [Porcello] throw the baseball."

12:07pm: The Padres have turned down two offers from the Tigers, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio reports (on Twitter). The Padres declined to take Porcello for Huston Street or Luke Gregerson, a Tigers source told Bowden.

THURSDAY, 8:33am: The Cardinals are checking out Porcello, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter).

WEDNESDAY: The Rangers and Padres are the teams most actively discussing potential Rick Porcello trades with the Tigers, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report. The Orioles have also scouted the right-hander.

Despite the strong interest, rival teams wonder if the Tigers will actually trade Porcello. Instead of making a deal, the Tigers could choose to keep Porcello and use Drew Smyly in the bullpen or as a starter at Triple-A Toledo. The FOX writers report that the Tigers will not move Porcello unless they obtain a strong return.

The Padres made an “aggressive” offer last week and the Tigers rejected it, Rosenthal and Morosi report. Talks with the Rangers are not advanced at this point. The Tigers appear to like shortstop prospect Leury Garcia and right-handed pitching prospect Nick Tepesch. Detroit would want a third player added to the package, but the Rangers are reluctant to move even Tepesch. 

The Red Sox could have interest in Porcello, yet they don’t want to reduce their bullpen depth, the FOX duo reports. The Orioles aren’t inclined to pursue Porcello aggressively, as they have many young starting pitchers of their own.

The Tigers also seek a right-handed hitting outfielder. They have talked about re-acquiring Casper Wells from the Mariners, Rosenthal and Morosi report. The Tigers traded Wells to Seattle midway through the 2011 season in the deal that sent Doug Fister to Detroit.



Quick Hits: Lohse, Porcello, Nationals, Astros

The Yankees could sign free agent Kyle Lohse, but GM Brian Cashman isn't interested, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. "I don’t think it would make any sense whatsoever," says Cashman. "We have all of our pitching intact. Our problem is not our pitching. Pitching is our strength." Rosenthal suggests that one solution for the Yankees' problems with injuries to their position players would be to sign Lohse and then trade either Ivan Nova or David Phelps for offense, but that doesn't sound likely.

  • The Tigers should not trade starting pitcher Rick Porcello, who could be on the verge of a "career breakthrough," Rosenthal writes. Rosenthal says scouts from the Padres, Rangers, Red Sox, Orioles, Dodgers and Cardinals were all in attendance to watch Porcello pitch a minor-league game Wednesday. One possibility for the Tigers to keep Porcello, Rosenthal says, is to put him in their rotation and then send Drew Smyly to Triple-A or use Smyly as a reliever.
  • The Tigers seem likely to trade Porcello, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports (via Twitter). Martino quotes an unnamed executive who says the Tigers have been "actively calling around on" Porcello. Martino clarifies that the Tigers have been actively initiating talks regarding Porcello with other teams.
  • The Nationals continue to be unconcerned about their lack of a second lefty reliever to pair with Zach Duke, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. Instead, the Nats will allow their right-handers, especially Tyler Clippard and Ryan Mattheus, face lefties. "I have a great deal of comfort zone with some of my right-handers facing left-handed hitters," manager Davey Johnson says.
  • As with most teams, players' option statuses will be an important factor for the Astros as they decide who will break camp with the team, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com writes. Tyler Greene, Lucas Harrell, Philip Humber, Fernando Martinez, Justin Maxwell and Wesley Wright are all out of options, and McTaggart reports that the only one who might not make the team is Martinez, who hit .314/.367/.507 in Triple-A Oklahoma City last year and .237/.300/.466 in 118 at bats with the Astros. The Astros risk losing him on waivers if he does not make their 25-man roster.

Orioles Likely To Stand Pat With Rotation

The Orioles recently discussed signing Kyle Lohse last week and are still scouting Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello, but team officials are currently satisfied with their pitching depth and probably won't make any major acquisitions, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.

Though Lohse and Porcello would add some veteran (and postseason) experience to Baltimore's staff, Rosenthal notes that Baltimore already has ten pitchers battling for rotation spots.  These pitchers include such promising young arms as Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Brian Matusz, all of whom aren't expected to make the rotation but will be in the minors and (in Matusz's case) in the bullpen for reinforcements should a need arise.

The O's have toyed with the idea of acquiring a veteran pitcher throughout the winter and have been linked to such names as Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly and Javier Vazquez.  They have shown interest in Lohse as well, though only if Lohse and agent Scott Boras were willing to lower their asking price and accept a one-year deal.  I listed the Orioles as a darkhorse candidate in my examination of Lohse's market last month, and as Rosenthal notes, Baltimore could stomach losing their first round pick (23rd overall) in order to sign Lohse since the team received an extra pick (37th overall) in the competitive balance compensation round.

Likewise, Rosenthal speculates that the Orioles could answer the Tigers' need for bullpen help and a right-handed hitting outfielder by offering a trade package like Nolan Reimold and a reliever in exchange for Porcello.  Baltimore is one of many teams who have been scouting Porcello during Spring Training.  Porcello projects as the Tigers' fifth starter though he could be expendable if Detroit feels confident that Drew Smyly is ready for a rotation spot.


Rosenthal On Lohse, Royals, Porcello, Dodgers

Kyle Lohse is starting to get "antsy" about not yet having a contract, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Much of Rosenthal's item on Lohse focuses, however, on the possibility that the Cardinals won't get a compensation pick for Lohse, which would happen if Lohse doesn't sign with a new team before the draft in June. Rosenthal writes that Lohse's situation might encourage MLB to allow sign-and-trades, which would give teams who don't wish to lose draft choices more flexibility to sign players who have declined qualifying offers. Here's more from Rosenthal …

  • Rosenthal reports that the Royals are looking for an outfielder they can use in place of Jeff Francoeur against good right-handed pitching.
  • The Padres like Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello, Rosenthal notes, but are unwilling to part with a "top reliever." The Angels might make sense as a destination for Porcello, but the Angels are currently more concerned with finding a backup catcher and a relief pitcher.
  • The Dodgers still appear likely to deal either Chris Capuano or Aaron Harang.
  • Chris Snyder of the Nationals is almost certain to be dealt before the season begins, Rosenthal says.

Tigers Weighing Trade Options

The Tigers have uncertainty in their bullpen, and they could use a right-handed hitting outfielder. They also have six starters capable of pitching at the MLB level, which has led to speculation that Rick Porcello could be dealt. While the team doesn’t seem close to making any trades, general manager Dave Dombrowski acknowledged that he continues to consider various options, Chris Iott of MLive.com reports.

"I'm not lacking for trade phone calls," Dombrowski said. "That's not any different. I've had a lot of those phone calls. It's more people calling us at this point."

The Tigers seem more likely to open the season with Bruce Rondon or a committee of relievers closing games, Iott writes. The team may also rely on internal options in left field, where the left-handed hitting Andy Dirks will be more than a platoon player. Other teams have interest in Porcello, but the Tigers would have limited rotation depth if they dealt Porcello and replaced him with Drew Smyly. Instead, Porcello figures to open the season at the MLB level with Smyly pitching in relief or at Triple-A. 

MLBTR reviewed the Tigers’ offseason earlier today.


AL Notes: Lee, Porcello, Red Sox

The Yankees, who are hunting for a corner infielder to replace the injured Mark Teixeira, have asked Derrek Lee if he would be interested in returning to baseball, David Waldstein of the New York Times reports. Waldstein reports that Lee did show interest, although no deal is in place. Lee last played in 2011 for the Orioles and Pirates, hitting .267/.325/.446. Here are more notes from the American League:


AL Notes: Ryan, Porcello, Happ, Indians

Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan had dinner with principal owners Ray Davis and Bob Simpson Friday night to discuss his future role with the franchise. Simpson called the meeting "productive" while Ryan remained silent until today when he released a statement through the team. "Over the last week, Ray Davis, Bob Simpson, and I have been in discussion and met in-person. The conversations have been productive, and we have discussed my role as CEO of the organization. We agreed these discussions will continue as we go forward. I am very proud of what the Rangers have accomplished over the last several years, and I believe our preparations for upcoming season are what is important." Sources have told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Ryan could leave after he fulfills his two remaining team obligations: in San Antonio for the Rangers' two exhibition games there March 29-30 and in Houston during the Rangers' season-opening series against the Astros. In other news and notes from the American League:


Quick Hits: Cardinals, Wainwright, Tigers, Porcello

Links from around baseball as Wednesday turns into Thursday..

  • Cardinals GM John Mozeliak sounded upbeat about the club's contract talks with Adam Wainwright in an interview earlier today with Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin of SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio.  "Right now, I feel pretty optimistic that we’re going to find a way to get things done, but there are still challenges. But from my end of things, the fact that Steve Hammond and I are speaking is a good thing," said the GM.
  • Tigers manager Jim Leyland recently floated the idea that using Rick Porcello as a closer could be an option, but he walked it back earlier today and said that it would be "highly unlikely", writes Jason Beck of MLB.com.  Porcello is a trade candidate for Detroit due to their strong rotation depth.
  • Jane Lee of MLB.com doesn't see the A's carrying two true first baseman this season, which would mean Daric Barton being left on the outside looking in.  Barton re-signed with the A's this winter on a one-year, non-guaranteed $1.1MM deal.