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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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  • JB88

    I’d make a Barney for Porcello trade in a second. That would be a fabulous sell-high trade IMO.

  • Tommy

    I don’t think the Tigers would trade Porcello straight up for Barney, but if they would, I would take it in a heartbeat. 23 year old proven AL pitcher is worth a good defensive, free swinging second baseman when we’ve got a farm system loaded with infielder prospects.

  • Rizzo 44

    Make the trade Barney for Porcello ASAP lol

    • Rizzo 44

      Porcello and Infante to the Cubs for Barney, Marmol (5M) cash and Cmpana. Looks good to me.

      • Rizzo 44

        Campana

      • MichiganGoat

        Marmol would be interesting to the Tigers since their bullpen has issues and they are desperate to return to the WS. However if they don’t resign Sanchez he won’t be going anywhere.

  • http://www.backingthepack.com Rynomite

    But Tigs have Infante, right? Guess he could be shipped to the OF. Marmol, a middling prospect, and cash would make more sense.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      For whatever it’s worth, Infante was atrocious with Detroit last year after the trade.

  • North Side Irish

    Considering the salaries (Porcello will make about 10x what Barney makes), I think the Cubs would get a B type prospect in addition to Porcello. Or each team throws in a prospect with the Cubs getting the better of the two.

  • OlderStyle

    Many yeses to Porcello for Barney but I don’t think that’s very realistic. They’ve got Infante. What about Marmol and a modest package for Porcello?

    • whiteflag

      I like your idea the best. Marmol, Lahair, and cash for Porcello?

      • Drew7

        What would the Tigers do with LaHair?

        • whiteflag

          Send him to japan…lol.

          • Tim

            Lahair dh?

            • North Side Irish

              They’ve got three DHs already…

            • Drew7

              I would assume V-Mart and Cabrera will be taking the lion’s share of those AB’s.

              • Tim

                Tigers lost laird. Vmart goes back behind the plate and Cabrera stays at third. Delmon young is gone. Who else Dh’s?

                • bbmoney

                  If they’re counting on Vmart catching much after that knee injury…I’d be extremely surprised. Plus they’ve got Avila.

                • Drew7

                  Gerald Laird started 49 games behind the plate last year…

                • King Jeff

                  VMart isn’t going back behind the plate. Maybe for a few emergency games, but his ab’s are going to come from dh/first. They are going to rotate Prince, Cabrera, and VMart in that spot. Plus, I’m pretty sure they have a 25 year old former all star as their catcher still.

      • OlderStyle

        They have VMart and Prince and Hunter. I don’t think they’d have use for LaHair.

        • MichiganGoat

          Hell no they want defense, bullpen, and better outfield production (Hunter answered two of those) they’d be interested in Barney and maybe Marmol.

  • Holden

    If we are getting a guy like Porcello we have to keep Barney, The pitching we are looking for is groundball pitchers to go with our stud defense.

    • hansman1982

      In theory you would replace Barney with Valbuena and then Watkins – each of whom are pretty good with the leather.

  • Buss3636

    Barney fornTurner oh wait that was last winter…

  • mudge

    Yes to Barney for Porcello.

  • Melrosepad

    If they wanted Barney, it would possibly to be a better defensive shortstop since they have Infante and Santiago for second. In that case why not broaden the potential trade and see if we can get Jhonny Peralta and have him at 3rd with Valbuena and others at 2nd.

  • ruby2626

    Mixed emotions on BJ Upton. His stats in some respects are incredibly consistent. .241, .237, 243, and .last year .246 BA over last 4 years. 152, 164, 161 and 169 K’s. .298 on base last year scares me a bit but he did walk 71 times the year before. Matching last years 28 homers would be sweet.

  • Byron Browne

    The Barney haters would agree to trade him for the Tigers’ batboy and a discount coupon from Burger King.

  • Buss3636

    You do have to assume bj hits much better in the NL

  • leitzout

    The Cubs were on his no-trade list last year, why would have have changed this year??
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/11/latest-on-justin-upton-diamondbacks.html

    • Holden

      That was Justin not BJ, and its already been identified that Justin Upton has four new teams this year

    • bbmoney

      Wrong Upton?

      • Beer Baron

        The only Upton I’m interested in is Kate. You can keep the other two.

        • MightyBear

          I agree totally with the Baron

        • TheJDawg

          Totally agree with you on that one…

  • Cubbies4Life

    Byron Browne, you expressed my thoughts exactly.

  • EQ76

    How about a Lake/McNutt for Porcello trade?

    • Nathan

      If we gave them Lake and McNutt, the cubs would want something else in return. I like the idea of a Barney, Marmol (and cash), plus a Junior Lake to the tigers for Porcello and say.. Jose Ortega or Alex Burgos

      • Cedlandrum

        Um no we wouldn’t. That would be a swell trade and we would do it in a second.

  • JR

    Marmol and eat all his salary plus some throw ins for Porcello makes sense. I am good with the Cubs selling high on Barney but not for a ground ball pitcher like Porcello. I still can’t believe they paid that for Hunter. The Tigers are nuts..

  • Mick

    I’d think the Tigers biggest need would be in a closing pitcher with experience. Valverde will be gone and they’re considering promoting Rondon from the minors, to be their closer, as a rookie, to hopefully win the World Series. Marmol isn’t the greatest closer in the world but having a rookie in that role would be a whole lot more scary. I’d still do Barney for Porcello but would prefer to ship both for Porcello and prospects.

  • 1060Ivy

    One of the primary rationales for Tigers’ improving their infield defense would be so a ground ball pitcher, like Porcello, could get the most from his talents so does the Tigers need for Barney decrease without Porcello? More specifically to what extent does Barney’s value to the Tigers decrease without Porcello on the squad?

    • JR

      I agree trading Barney for Porcello isn’t a fit for either team. I think the two would be great in the same uniform together..

      • Rizzo 44

        Well if it takes Barney to get it done send him. We can replace Barney. I would love to send Marmol and 7M cash for Porcello and another SP in the minors, but thats just my opinon. That isn’t enough you get Porcello for three years and one year for sure of Marmol so I think the only way this works is we send Barney, Marmol(5M) cash, and Lake or Vitters for Porcello, Infante, and a SP or two in the minors.

  • Rizzo 44

    How about this trade Garza, Barney, Marmol (5M), and Vitters for Porcello, Infante, Bruce Rondon, Casey Crosby, and Adam Wilk. That would be a huge deal for both sides.

    • King Jeff

      Keep dreaming. Not landing 3 of the Tigers’ top 5 (arguably) prospects, plus Infante and Porcello for that package.

      • Rizzo 44

        This would be better than payin Sanchez 90M so I think this is a deal that could get done.

        • King Jeff

          If the Cubs could get Detroit to accept the deal, than yes, it’s great. I’m saying no way does Detroit give up 3 of their top 5 prospects, a versatile, relatively cheap veteran like Infante, and a decent starter with middle of the rotation potential for Barney, the Marmolcoaster and a year of Garza.

          • Rizzo 44

            They want to win now so this helps them now. To win now you must give up a little more of the future. It cost a lot to win now.

  • Njriv

    Barney and Marmol and maybe Lake for Porcello. I wouldn’t mind trading Barney for a 23 year old pitcher with Watkins not to far from playing in the big leagues.

    • Can’t think of a cool name

      Maybe its me but I don’t understand all the love for Porcello. He did not perform well in arguably th worst division in baseball.

      • Njriv

        Porcello is only 23 years old and his upside is a 1-2 type starter.

        • Can’t think of a cool name

          After 120 starts in the majors and 700 innings I don’t think his upside is 1-2.

          • Njriv

            I think he can be, maybe a #2. keep in mind he’s only 23, he still has time to grow and he is about 5 years or so from his prime years.

  • Fastball

    If we were to trade Barney to Detroit then I would then consider jumping Watkins past AAA to the majors. His bat will be no worse than Barney’s and if he is good on defense as everyone states. I make the trade. I really like Barney but I think Porcello is a long term fit in the rotation. He is used to cold weather early spring and fall pitching. I believe there is merit in that consideration.

  • Abram_the3rd

    I “get” trading Barney could net us something valuable in return. However, trading a proven MLB 2B with “hopes” of a minor leaguer coming up and filling in adequately is a big gamble. The FO wanted to value defense… well, here we are with a decent defensive infield and we want to ship Barney off ASAP.

    I’m all for trading Barney for quality SP. However, I’m not all for it if it hangs in the balance on an unproven 2B within our minors.

    An no.. I don’t have a wacky trade proposal to back up my thoughts.

    • When the Music’s Over

      You are definitely correct in that replacing MLB talent in lieu of minor league hopefulls is a risk, but isn’t that in essence the current modus operandi of the Cubs front office (and many others right now): to build the minor leagues up by and large at the expense of a quality major league roster?

      • King Jeff

        Yes, but not if it’s going to be at the cost of letting that player develop properly. Promoting Watkins now seems more like a “win now” move more than a “develop the player” move, if they truly feel Watkins can be the second baseman of the future.

        • When the Music’s Over

          I don’t think most people are saying to promote Watkins now (or ever if he never puts it together at AAA). Many believe Valbuena would fill Barney’s spot if traded, with the hope of bridging the gap until/if someone else is ready.

          Regardless, I was speaking in terms that I agreed trading MLB talent for minor league prospects is indeed almost always a risky tactic, but one that our front office is currently heavily employing.

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      The reason you would consider it is because he probably has as much value as he will ever have this off-season. This is a perfect example of selling high.

  • cheryl

    How about Marmol and Lake for Porcello?

    • MightyBear

      I would do that as well Cheryl.

  • MightyBear

    Barney for Porcello now.

  • Patrick G

    I honestly like Barney and would not trade for Porcello. He is a ground ball pitcher and with Castro, though improving, does struggle and 3rd is a big question mark. Atleast Porcello could count on Barney to make plays. I say trade some youngsters if the price is not to high.

  • Abram_the3rd

    End of Music: I agree with their strategy in that we can “sell high” in order to replenish our nonexistent stock of SP. I guess I’m just hesitant on the calls for Watkins to be rushed in to save the day when he hasn’t played a single game in AAA. With the FO placing emphasis on number of games played at that level; I’m thinking their not looking at Watkins filling the hole that Barney’s departure would create.

  • Abram_the3rd

    Also, I’m also not sure the Tigers would bite on Lake / Vitters in any trade. They have Nick Castellanos in the minors and that one guy who just won MVP and a Triple Crown holding down the fort at that position. Though, he is a defensive liability there.

  • Tommy

    Keep Barney because Porcello is a ground ball pitcher? It that a serious argument? There aren’t any other 2nd basemen that can field ground balls? Really?

  • Frank

    Do I particularly want Rick Porcello? No.
    Would I be particularly upset if we were to acquire Rick Porcello for the right price? No.
    Such sums up my sentiment toward every big league acquisition made by Team Epstein thus far.

    This being said, what would be a good price for Porcello? As far as I’m concerned I wouldn’t want the centerpiece to be anything more than Rafael Dolis or James Russell. In addition, I’d be willing to add 1 low level guy, certainly nothing in the top 20 and throw in something from the spare parts bin such as Coleman, Rusin, or Raley. However, if they want to expand the deal, that’s a different story.

    • Marcel91

      Is that also how you felt when they acquired Anthony Rizzo for a very talented, but often injured reliever? When we we’re first hearing about the possibility of a Rizzo-Cashner deal I wanted it done asap and would have disappointed if it didn’t happen.

      • Frank

        Big league acquisitions. Rizzo was a prospect when acquired.

        • Frank

          Same goes with Vizcaino. I was very happy with that pickup, but he’s still considered a prospect.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      Agreed! I’m a “sell high guy” myself, but I wouldn’t create another hole by trading Barney. If we want ’13 to better than ’12, then we need to find ways to fill holes without creating others. I didn’t like the Haren/Marmol deal for that very same reason. And, I don’t really see the braintrust looking to deal Darwin, right now.

      Selling high on Barney, in my opinion, still likely won’t bring the value that his defense brings to this team. Keep him, I say!!

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