In the past week, rumors have popped up concerning Seattle’s interest in Detroit starter, Rick Porcello. In response to this, I engaged in mock trade negotiations with Tiger blogger, Brian Sakowski whose work you can find at blessyouboys.com or on twitter at @B_Sakowski.
I tried a similar project last month by trying to barter for Billy Butler, but I was unable to reach a deal. However, this time a deal was met. At the bottom, I will explain my rational for the trade.
Here are the actual trade talks. Again, I will interject my thoughts using italicized text.
Joel Condreay: Just looking at your organizational depth, it looks like you could use an infielder, so I’ll start with middle infielder Brad Miller. He should be ready to step into second base as soon as Infante’s contract expires at the end of the year.
I would probably throw in a young relief arm like Charlie Furbush since you could probably use a lefty in the pen if Coke is taking over as closer.
It would also probably take a young prospect you could dream on as well, since there aren’t any real holes to be filled at the MLB level. Maybe 19 year old Guillermo Pimentel, who has insane power potential with a lot of refining to do. (I have essentially given up on Pimentel as a prospect.)
So I’ll start with Porcello for Miller, Furbush, and Pimintel.
Brian Sakowski: Keep in mind I’m willing to move other pieces as well: I know Brennan Boesch has sparked at least moderate interest with the M’s.
Joel Condreay: Boesch doesn’t spark much in me. Seattle already has plenty of fringy outfielders.
I will be inquiring on Avisail Garcia at some point, though. (I really like Garcia. He has five-tool potential and is just 21 years old.)
Brian Sakowski: We’re interested in middle infielders, yes, but only ones who can play SS. Miller is a nice piece, but I’m not sold on him as an everyday player. We’re more interested in Nick Franklin, who we believe has a better chance to stick at SS. (While I would prefer to give up Miller over Franklin, I feel fairly comfortable losing Franklin in the right circumstances considering the good depth the organization has at the position.)
We’re intrigued by Pimentel, but we already have essentially his clone in Steven Moya. At the moment, we’re also in the market for a late innings reliever. I don’t want Furbush, you can have him.
So, here’s our counteroffer:
Rick Porcello and Avisail Garcia for Nick Franklin, Tom Wilhelmsen, Casper Wells, and Carter Capps. (I believe that Garcia is more likely to succeed than Franklin and has more positional value to Seattle than Franklin. Wells is nothing more than a fourth outfielder who can hit lefties a bit, and bullpen arms are pretty easy to replenish. However, I didn’t want to lose to young arms at the same time.)
Joel Condreay: I actually really like this deal for the most part.
The one thing is that I can’t dismantle my bullpen like that right now. I want to switch out Shawn Kelly for Tom Wilhelmsen. Kelly won’t embarrass batters like Tom will, but he will be a reliable arm in the pen.
Considering your lack of rotation depth, I can toss in someone like Hector Noesi or DJ Mitchell.
Brian Sakowski: Ok. We’re really kind of dead set on getting Wilhelmsen, but at the risk of destroying your bullpen, we’re willing to drop Capps from the deal if you toss in Victor Sanchez and Hector Noesi.
So the proposal would be: Rick Porcello and Avisail Garcia for Nick Franklin, Tom Wilhelmsen, Casper Wells, Victor Sanchez, and Hector Noesi. (There was no way that I would be giving up a second good prospect like Sanchez in this deal.)
Joel Condreay: That seems a bit steep. Instead of Sanchez, I’ll offer Jordan Shippers.
So here it is: Porcello and Garcia for Franklin, Wilhelmsen, Wells, Shippers, and Noesi.
Brian Sakowski: I’m not a big fan of Shippers. We have several fringe lefties already. (Personally, I think he may be underestimating Shippers.) What about Brandon Maurer? (Don’t worry, I never even considered putting Maurer in this deal.)
Joel Condreay: Well Maurer will have a decent shot at making the baseball America top 100 this year, so that’s not going to work. How do you feel about Anthony Fernandez?
Brian Sakowski: I’m a fan of Fernandez. I’ll do that deal if you’d like.
Porcello and Garcia for Franklin, Wilhelmsen, Wells, Fernandez, and Noesi.
Joel Condreay: You got yourself a deal, sir!
There it is: Rich Porcello and Avisail Garcia for Nick Franklin, Tom Wilhelmsen, Casper Wells, Anthony Fernandez, and Hector Noesi.
Admittedly, the deal doesn’t look great on paper, but don’t rush to judgment just yet.
Let’s take a look at Porcello. On the surface, he looks like a 3-4 starter, but I think he is more than that. His 2.9 WAR last year was comparable to players like Jered Weaver, Yovani Gallardo, Ryan Vogelsong, and C.J. Wilson.
Take a look at this blind comparison:
As you can see, Porcello is slightly worse in his strikeouts and walks, but his xFIP is a bit better. Overall, these two
pitchers are quite similar. The mystery player is CY Young finalist, Jered Weaver. Granted, Weaver didn’t deserve to be a finalist, but he was nevertheless.
Porcello has also gotten a bit unlucky over the course of his career. Last year his BABIP was .344 and his LOB% was 69%. As soon as those numbers move to reasonable levels, his ERA should drop significantly. The thing especially impressive about Porcello is his 52.3 career GB%. Last year, he was fifth in the American League in the category. The ability to get ground balls will fit especially well in Seattle.
Considering he is just 24 years old, I would say that Rick Porcello could be a solid starter in the Mariner rotation for years to come. We need a piece in the rotation, and he is the perfect solution. He is certainly preferable to Jason Vargas.
As for the prospects, I think that Seattle needs Garcia more than Franklin. Franklin has caused considerable concern with his struggles against lefties, and his glove may not even be able to stick at shortstop. He hasn’t shown great power in the upper end of the farm system either. Considering these things as well as the fact that Brad Miller is just as likely, if not more likely, to become a solid major league player, I would say that getting Garcia back for him is an excellent deal for Seattle.
Garcia, on the other hand, has already hit at the MLB level. As the 21 year-old continues to age and mature, he will only get better. He has 25/25 potential. Seattle’s farm system lacks outfield prospects with power, so Garcia could be a real difference maker. I know that most prospect lists don’t agree with me, but I think that Avisail Garcia is a better prospect for Seattle than Franklin is.
Losing Wilhelmsen was difficult, but with Capps and Pryor in the bullpen, I think the closer role will be filled quickly.
Please give me your thoughts on the deal in the comment section below.