Your Friday mid-day fix from the Lukewarm Stove …

  • Rick Porcello has been one of those guy whose name comes up periodically in rumor talks over the last couple years, but never quite reaches a level of serious discussion that you’d associate with a guy who is “going to be dealt.” I still don’t think we’re there, though the Tigers’ pitching situation – particularly if they re-up with Anibal Sanchez – coupled with Porcello’s increasingly groundball-reliant approach (with a crappy infield defense behind him) and his escalating arbitration cost make him a potential trade candidate. George Ofman says he’s been told there’s “smoke” to possible discussions between the Cubs and Tigers about Porcello, though other teams may be interested as well. There’s a lot to like about Porcello, including his age (24 in December), his groundball rate (53.2% in 2012), his increasing WAR (2.0, 2.7, 2.9 over the last three seasons), and his increasing K/BB rate (2.21, 2.26, and 2.43 over those same three seasons). On the other hand, as a Super Two, he’s already in his second year of arbitration, where he’ll make upwards of $4.5 to $5 million. He could get pretty expensive in the subsequent two years, yet he hasn’t had an ERA+ better than 92 in any of the last three seasons (oof). That said, the upside is real, and the Cubs certainly have the ability to absorb the cost. Porcello is not a guy I’d be looking to give up a package of top prospects to acquire, but he’s certainly worth taking a chance on. The only question is the price. What if the Tigers wanted Darwin Barney? Is that an easy yes? Easy no?
  • Even after acquiring both of Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, the Blue Jays are looking to add yet another starting pitcher, says Ken Rosenthal. They’ve already got a full rotation of Johnson/Buehrle/Morrow/Romero/Happ, plus a group of convalescing youngsters, but you could understand them wanting more depth. That doesn’t mean, I don’t think, that they’re going to want to try and add a Matt Garza or to re-sign a Carlos Villanueva. In other words, I’m not sure there’s any impact on the Cubs here. For their purposes, the big deal with the Marlins removed the Blue Jays from the part of the pitching market that affects the Cubs.
  • B.J. Upton appears to be making the rounds, having met with the Braves yesterday in Atlanta, and with the Phillies earlier in the week. I still think the Cubs should be considering Upton, all things considered, but if we don’t catch wind of a meeting in the next few days, I’m thinking they’re officially out.


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