Cespedes Becomes A Tiger, Costs Tigers Porcello

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

Two and a half weeks ago, I tempted fate.

And on the face of it, it does make sense. The Tigers have pitching depth and needed outfielders. The Red Sox needed pitching and have enough outfielders for two or three outfields. Porcello and Cespedes both have a year left, they’re both going to make $10M to $12M in 2015, and they’re both roughly 3 win players.

So there’s a logic to it. Cespedes doesn’t walk and his batting average is just okay. His calling card is his power and his excellent throwing arm. He’s a solid base runner. He’ll fit really well on the Tigers and if he was a free agent, I’d be pleased with the acquisition. Power, some savvy base running, and outfield defense. Sign me up.

But then you glance over at the cost of the move and it’s Rick Porcello. You might know him as the Patron Saint of New English D. He’s about to turn 26 and has six full seasons under his belt and 15 WAR. He’s been on the rise for a few years and his turned into an amazing number three starter or a really solid number two. He doesn’t walk anyone, he limits opponent’s power, and he’s durable.

Porcello isn’t quite an ace by the normal standards, but he’s a very good pitcher who is also very young and entering his prime. But it became clear after they didn’t do anything last Spring that the Tigers weren’t going to extend Porcello. For whatever reason, they decided they didn’t want to make a long term investment, or perhaps he didn’t want to settle for anything under the market price. With three other ace(ish) level starters and a nice compliment in Shane Greene, he became somewhat available.

The irony is that Porcello was always the guy fans wanted to trade because they didn’t think he was good enough, and now he’s the guy that gets dealt because he’s so good. The Sox are going to love him and maybe even extend him.

It’s hard to fully analyze this deal without knowing what the other shoe is going to be. There’s a minor league arm coming back and the Tigers are reportedly finalizing another deal to replace Porcello. Stay tuned for the whole “was this a good idea” post and the “please don’t leave me Rick” post.

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