Could the Detroit Tigers be showcasing Rick Porcello for a possible trade? Porcello was scheduled to pitch Friday for Triple-A Toledo, but is having his start pushed back a day. And it's not because he's hurt. That led FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi to wonder if Porcello is being held back for an audience of scouts on Saturday.
Which team would those scouts be from? Morosi points to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are looking to trade Dan Haren. Under contract until 2012 (with a club option for 2013), Haren is exactly the sort of pitcher the Tigers would prefer to trade a top prospect for, as opposed to a two- or three-month rental like Cliff Lee.
(Houston's Roy Oswalt would be another, but Morosi's colleague, Ken Rosenthal, has already reported that Oswalt wouldn't waive his no-trade clause for the Tigers.)
Haren's record doesn't look especially impressive this year, with a 7-6 won-loss mark and 4.38 ERA. But he's thrown 119 strikeouts in 123.1 innings, with only 24 walks. And he plays for a terrible Diamondbacks team.
SB Nation's Detroit Tigers blog, Bless You Boys, looks deeper into Haren's numbers:
Haren's ERA with the Diamondbacks this year is 4.38, but he has a 3.45 xFIP alongside it, so you expect improvement. His biggest problem right now appears to be a bit of bad luck, as his ground ball and line drive rates are pretty much in line with his career norms, and his strikeout and walk numbers are better than his career average. In his last season in the American League, with the A's, he had a 3.07 ERA and 3.87 xFIP.
With his current contract, Haren is set to be paid $12.75 million over each of the next two seasons. The 2013 option is for $15.5 million.
Porcello, meanwhile, hasn't followed up his stellar rookie season with much success. He was 4-7 with a 6.14 ERA before being sent down to Toledo. And since pitching for the Mud Hens, he's still had difficulty finding the correct movement on his sinker, as well as developing secondary pitches, such as his slider.
Here's one more thought, if you really want to think big: The Diamondbacks have another player that could really help the Tigers in shortstop Stephen Drew. Could he be the primary target, instead of Haren? Is it at all realistic to think that Detroit could put together a package that would get both players? Maybe, maybe not. But it's the time of year for such speculation.
For the latest on these rumors and all things Tigers, keep clicking over to Bless You Boys.