The Tigers have discussed a potential reunion with right-hander Rick Porcello, Jason Beck and Jon Morosi of MLB.com report (Twitter link), although the two sides are still “a ways apart.” Tigers general manager Al Avila said earlier this week that he was still looking for arms and that adding “at least one more starter would be ideal.”
It’s been a rough couple years for the now-32-year-old Porcello, who turned in an ERA north of 5.00 during his final year in Boston and again in 2020 after signing a deal with the Mets. Over his past 233 1/3 frames in the big leagues, Porcello carries an ugly 5.55 ERA.
That said, there’s also reason to think he should’ve fared better in 2020 than he did in 2019. Porcello halved his 2019 home run rate as a member of the Mets last year and also improved upon both his strikeout and walk percentages while allowing less hard contact than in 2019.
A woeful Mets defense didn’t do him any favors, however, as reflected in his opponents’ .373 average on balls in play. That’s nearly 70 points higher than his career mark, and while some of it is attributable to allowing more line drives, the porous defense undoubtedly played at least some role. Fielding-independent metrics like SIERA (4.45) and xFIP (4.38) pegged Porcello’s 2020 campaign more in the mid-4.00s range that he’s lived throughout the bulk of his career.
Porcello also remained durable in Queens, making a dozen starts and soaking up 59 innings even as he struggled through those poor results. He hasn’t been on the injured list since missing three weeks with a triceps strain late in the 2015 season, so at the very least he could be expected to give the Tigers some bulk innings during a season in which they’ll likely be extra-cautious with the workloads of vaunted young arms like Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning.
At the moment, the Tigers have lefty Matthew Boyd and right-handers Spencer Turnbull, Michael Fulmer and Jose Urena locked into spots in the 2021 rotation. Skubal, Mize, Manning, Daniel Norris and non-roster arms like Derek Holland and Erasmo Ramirez will all be vying for opportunities in the rotation. Avila noted this week that the club could roll out with a six-man rotation in 2021 (link via Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press), so there could be multiple starting jobs up for grabs.
It’s an important year for the Tigers’ lengthy rebuilding effort, as they’ll want to get a chance to evaluate Mize, Skubal, Manning and others from their improved farm system at the MLB level. At the same time, there’s a fine line to walk; the Tigers surely don’t want to get to a point where injuries elsewhere on the roster force them to be overly reliant on that group to turn over the rotation, thus potentially inflating their workloads. Adding Porcello, who spent six seasons as a Tiger and won a Cy Young Award with the Red Sox in 2016, to help manage workloads and mentor younger starters has some appeal to the club.
From a payroll vantage point, the Tigers can clearly afford just about anyone they want. Their offseason investments to date have been a two-year, $10MM deal for Robbie Grossman and one-year deals for Jonathan Schoop ($4.5MM), Urena ($3.25MM), Wilson Ramos ($2MM) and Nomar Mazara ($1.75MM). Their current payroll sits at about $82MM — more than $110MM shy of its peak levels in 2016-17. That’s not likely to go up much in 2021, but they could still spend on a couple more veterans in the Porcello mode as they await a return to more prominently playing in the free-agent market next winter and beyond.
Looks like all the free agents are dropping their asking prices..
The Tigers are interested in signing Porcello for the same reason the Royals signed Trevor Rosenthal last year…
The Royals were gong nowhere and beginning to bring up youngsters in their rebuild. Rosenthal could eat up some innings for a while, and if he messed up – so what? They could sit him down, maybe even release him. His salary was inexpensive. Meanwhile he could be another veteran in the clubhouse.
Glory be….the long shot came in!
Rosenthal pitched decently, and the Royals were able to deal him to a contender for some prospects.
That’s how these things work.
Porcello would at least eat some innings for the young team.
They’d be better off bringing back Jack Morris. I’d expect the same results from either one.
I’m OK with this as long as it gets him out of the broadcaster’s booth.
Well done. Well done lol
Rather have Morris
That’s a bit extreme
Good off season getting better?
Oh god, please don’t. Just let mize and skubal pitch and bring Manning up late summer. Why is this so hard?
Because you have 162 games to play and this year especially, you’re going to need at least 8 serviceable arms to get those innings.
Because all the young arms were set back last year by not pitching many innings. Manning didn’t throw in a game at all. Mize threw 28 and Skubal threw 32.
You can’t ask those guys to throw 150 innings this year – especially when you consider Skubals’ never thrown more than 120 innings and Mize’s highest total was 109.
Likely looking at a six-man rotation.
Stick to football
Fun fact: Rick is an orchestra-worthy violinist, but he plays a poor cello.
Your the reason they have hooks at comedy clubs.
and I brought some rotten tomatoes
It’s remarkable people pay this man money to throw a baseball still. Any farmhand can be bought up cheap to throw to a 6 era.
might as well bring back Shao and throw him out there
I don’t hate Porcello but here’s the thing. You have Boyd, Turnbull, Fulmer and Urena who should be rotation locks for at the least veteran arms and at most to showcase for trades. So that’s your first four that should get all their starts barring injuries. So that leaves Mize, Manning, Skubal and likely Wentz as the young arms that will rotate for the 5-6 rotation spot. Then you have Holland and Ramirez for depth along with Norris and Alexander in the bullpen that can give you a spot start.
So that’s twelve SP…where does Porcello fit into this?
If you trade your starters as you mentioned, you will need back ups. When you likely will have a couple of injuries in spring training, a durable arm is good to have.
The problem with this is Porcello is going to want to start in the Bigs, and there isn’t room for him ATM. The Tigers already have four potential trade chips in the starting rotation that need starts, four young arms that need experience and what sounds like 6 rotation spots. I don’t see Porcello coming out of the pen and I don’t see him starting in the minors. I just don’t see a fit here.
I’m also assuming some of your youngsters will be watched to get an extra year of control. Another reason to get a durable arm who has pitched at a high level. In 18, he had some important appearances down the stretch.
I only see Boyd, Turnbull and Fulmer (if healthy) as locks for the rotation. Yes, Urena is probably a lock but possibly for the pen. Avila stated he may go with a 6-man rotation this season. So there could be 3 spots between Urena, Porcello, Skubal, Mize, Manning, Holland, Ramirez and Peralta. Skubal, Mize and Manning could all start the season in AAA. Ramirez, Holland and Peralta are just minor-league/ST invites and could all bomb and get released before opening day. A couple of these rotation candidates can wind up in the pen. Depth is good.
Wentz is still recovering from TJS, no?
He is, but he should be ready by the end of ST. He’s already throwing from 120ft. So I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t ready by Apr/May
No, they are targeting sometime this summer for Wentz to be ready.
Blaming the Mets defense and not his straight as a string fastball is like blaming fried food for being fat. Porcello always seemed to have that one inning that he got tattooed. They weren’t just bleeders either.
Agree, and how many times did he have an inning where balls were scorched at someone for an out…a lot more than a broken bat single over the second baseman’s head.
Assuming he is cheap, I like this a lot for the Tigers. They probably need a veteran among all the high-potential kids they have. He’s never had an issue throwing a lot of pitches, and he will likely have some low-end trade value at the deadline, for a team desperate for a #5.
Interesting career. Over 2000 IP, more than half his WAR in three spread-our seasons. Was 9th (9th!) in pitching WAR when he won the Cy Young. He’s made over $125M and has a career WAA of .4.
That Cy Young just looks worse with age. Wtf were the voters thinking? Verlander should’ve won, and you could make the case that Kluber had a better year too. Hell Happ had a statistically similar season and he wasn’t even top three.
Sounds like some Verlander crying going on here… geez Porcello is cooked no question. Tigers need to move away from this idea!
I mean they both suck so perfect match.
They deserve each other because they’re both awful.
This guy was as big a fluke as Arrieta and Dickey.
to be fair R.A. also was good prior to 2012 while with the Mets
With Porcello, a solid infield is required because he gives up a lot of ground balls with that sinker.
I mean sure, they’re not in on him, but even so, a team like the Yankees wouldn’t make too much sense because even though Urshela and LeMahieu are quality fielders, Torres and Voit are among the worst at their position defensively, but their bat is their saving grace, although the former was disappointing offensively, even with the juiced ball still in play.
Exactly the same for Chris Volstad and since he always had terrible defenses all around and on horrible teams his ERA was killed. His posted xFIP of 4.30 is more accurate of his skill set. Never injured, he could eat innings easily for a cheap price.
Going back to Detroit could be good for Porcello. A nice no pressure situation to try to rebound.
I was expecting bigger things from Mazara. Maybe he’ll shine in Detroit. But I’m not holding my breath. They didn’t spend a lot so it’s worth a shot. ( not a Covid shot )
Mazara at least still has time on his side, so there is reason to have some optimism, and as long as he shows anything he’ll get another shot.
If I was Porcello I think I’d take any ML contract I could get… not sure how they can be “far apart” … I mean at this point he’s been so bad for the past 2 years that he barely even deserves a ML contract. He should happily take any offer the Tigers make and be happy he’s still in the majors. Nothing against him… he seems like a great guy and was decent at times for the Res Sox… heck he even won a CY (though he didn’t exactly have what you’d normally consider CY numbers that year) but still he’s been REALLY bad the past 2 seasons, bad luck or not, it’s not just luck at this point… he also looks like a BP pitcher out there at times… so take ANY ML deal that’s offered and hope you can hang onto your roster spot for the entire season.
1 year/8 million
He’ll be lucky to sign for $3M guaranteed salary.
He is the DJLM of pitching. Mostly mediocre with a couple of gems in there. A good pickup for the Tigers on a one year. Who knows?
I’ve seen some laughable comments on here but this could take the number one spot.
Look at DJLM OPS+ over his career and look at Porcello’s ERA+ over his career.
I rest my case.
DJLM – 88,74,75,92,93,88 and a 128, 135
JP – 85,87,93,96,87,98,87 and a 114, 113, 142, 103
So actually JP is more consistent (better), but hey this is just a stupid comment.
Oh wait, DJLM played in a HITTER”S Park. Oops. My bad. JP is clearly better. You might notice there’s a WC ring on his hand. DJLM? Nope. Sorry.
Game. Set. Match. G’night.
Hee hee heeeeeee.
Cursed comment right here.
Porcello would be good for the Tigers and vice versa. I am sure Ricky would love to pitch for a winning team, but his performance of late suggests that is not going to happen. Tigers could really use an inning eater and that would solidify the top four spots in the rotation. Porcello will take the ball every 5th or 6th day and log innings even if he stinks.
That sets up a competition for the 5th (and maybe 6th) spot in the rotation. I am sure the Tigers would love if it Fulmer goes out and grabs that last spot, but no sure thing. Mize, Manning, and Skubal are the future, but until last year they had little to no experience above AA. So yes, they could use some time in AAA to hone their craft. There will be some innings available at the majors league level for them with DH and injuries. And if they prove to be ready they will get their shot this season even if it means trading or releasing someone.
Want the Phillies to sign this dude as a reliable innings eater. Although the Phillies defense isn’t great, so he may suffer the same fate he did on the Mets. He’s definitely better than his stats show. That Met defense was awful.
I’m sort of surprised we haven’t heard the Phillies mentioned if for no other reason but Dombrowski. That being said i think St.Louis would be a good fit for Porcello. Competitive team, great Baseball environment and not a whole lot of pressure
Any chance they take a flier on Jeremy Bonderman? I’ll hang up and listen.
When Porcello keeps the ball down, he’s decent or slightly better. It’s when he thinks he’s Nolan Ryan and starts getting the ball up for strikeouts, he runs into trouble and tons of gopher balls. Match him up with a good pitching coach and he’ll be ok.
Every team should have pitching depth 8 starters and plenty of bullpen pieces…With Covid everything is a mess…Tigers need to sign any cheap starting pitcher or reliever that is out there…Dumpster Dive Big Al….Porchello for a 5 million one year deal is about right..
Shhhhh…. don’t tell anyone, but the Tigers kinda know that Michael Fulmer isn’t going to get it done.
Urena will be hard pressed to have an ERA under 6.00. Rameirez will get bombed in Spring training.
Alexander is better than them.
Tiger’s need to be able to send Mize down when he starts out 0-4 with an 7.00+ ERA.
Just a guess.
Rotation come May will be Skubal, Boyd, Turnbull, Alexander and Porcello.
No. DET is the last team Rick Porcello should sifn with. Defense is worse than poor.
Tigers love mediocrity.
As a Red Sox fan, I have a lot of respect for Rick Porcello but at this point in his career, he doesn’t provide much value to a team beyond his durability. You can almost bank on him being healthy enough to make 30 starts, but when his average start is a little less than 5 innings, it really doesn’t help the bullpen much at all; in fact it taxes the bullpen. I wonder if he’d be better pitching out of the bullpen in long relief. He has a rubber arm so he could probably pitch 2-3 innings every 3 days for a team as their long reliever or the next man up after an opener.. It will be hard for Rick to swallow his pride and move to the bullpen but it may be the best spot for him if he wants to continue playing into his mid – 30’s.
I like Al. He is great. Not like God is great but he’s still pretty good……
The way this article was written with so much “he wasn’t as bad as it looks”, it could have been written by his agent.
Porcello has been a disappointed even with winning a Cy Young that he did not deserve, Porcello has 2 attributes, durability (innings eater) and stays healthy. What he needs is a one on one excelled pitching coach that works with him all season long. Fulmer is not reliable at all. Mize breakout? How long is that going to take? Much longer that originally thought.
Give Porcello a one year deal with a clause to bring him back next year if he can get outs and not the ones that gets out of the park. He is no more of a risk that the other pitchers on the team. Health is a huge bonus. Name one team that actually has a group of athletic medical professionals that set them apart from the hum drums out there now. Someone needs to give them a kick in the rear to wake them up and realize every athlete is uniquely different. Do teams use interns with little to no expertise nor common sense when a player is deemed physically fit and passes their simpleton assessment of “touch your head shoulders knees and toes; ok you are good to go” test. I have yet to see an athletic trainer run out on the field. Most couldn’t because they are out of shape themselves.
Back to my point, Sign Porcello for his durability and isn’t a frequent flyer on the IL. Seek advice from Ichiro, for a recommendation to hire the best talented pitching coach wizard available,