With Anibal Sanchez re-signed, the Tigers have a deep starting rotation to say the least. That, predictably, has led to other teams calling them to inquire about taking some of that pitching off of their hands, and Danny Knobler tweets that that interest the Tigers are “taking calls” on both Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly.
Porcello has been around since 2009 and hasn’t really stood out in terms of performance yet, with an ERA/FIP of 4.55/4.26. That said, he’s actually nine days shy of turning 24 years old, so there’s still probably upside here, and he’s made 31 starts in three of the past four seasons, so he’s already pretty durable, especially for his age. As far as the Yankees go, it’s Smyly who really intrigues me. The 23 year old made his big league debut against the Bombers in 2012, and went on to pitch to a 3.99/3.83/3.97 ERA/FIP/xFIP line over 99.1 innings. His peripherals are also quite strong, though he is a bit of a fly ball pitcher.
The top four guys in the Yankees’ rotation forms a very solid core for that unit on paper, but once you get past that, things get pretty dodgy. Ivan Nova is looking for a bounce back performance in 2013 and needs to figure out what kind of pitcher he’s going to be in the future, while David Phelps only has a handful of starts to his name. After that, Adam Warren is the only viable starter (so excluding Dellin Betances) in the system with experience at the Triple-A level right now, so things could get ugly pretty quickly if anyone gets hurt. Given that reality, picking up another viable option for the back end of the rotation could be a good move for the Yankees before this winter ends, and a guy like Smyly, who won’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2014 season, would be a big pick-me-up for Plan 189.
Could the Yankees swing a deal for either of these guys? I wouldn’t count on it. For one thing, there’s no indication what the Tigers want, and I don’t think the Yankees necessarily have a ton of chips to put on the table. For another, working out trades between two contenders in the same league is just a tough thing to do, since both are presumably looking for moves that improve their big league roster in the near term. It’s not impossible by any means, but it’s pretty close to it in practice.