The Diamondbacks and Braves made headlines today, Arizona trading OF Justin Upton and 3B Chris Johnson to Atlanta for 3B Martin Prado, RHP Randall Delgado, RHP Zeke Spruill, 1B Brandon Drury and SS Nick Ahmed.
But how could this blockbuster deal affect the Tigers?
USA Today's Bob Nightengale links the dots via an "NL official," claiming the Diamondbacks may try to flip Ahmed, a slick fielding, 6'3", 205 pound 22 year old right-hand hitting shortstop, to the Tigers as part of a package for Rick Porcello. The Diamondbacks have been linked to Porcello for some time, this is just the latest iteration of the rumor.
As far-fetched as this might be, Ahmed is a legit prospect. In Nightengale's words, "Ahmed is a superb defensive SS." Baseball America named Ahmed the best defensive player in the Braves' system. I'm sure your interest just perked up a notch.
Ahmed played his college ball at UCONN where he pitched along with playing short. The Braves 2nd round pick the 2011 draft, Ahmed spent that summer playing for Danville in the short-season, Rookie level Appalachian League, hitting .262/.346/.379 in 59 games.
Considered one of the Braves' top 10 prospects, Ahmed stepped up in competition this past season, playing for high Single A Lynchburg in the Carolina League. In 130 games, Ahmed posted numbers nearly identical to his 2011 season (.269/.337/.391). He also showed off his speed, stealing 40 bases.
Tabbed by the Braves to play in the Arizona Fall League, Ahmed opened eyes by hitting .288/.361/.452 in 73 at bats, making the AFL's Rising Stars game.
Other food for thought is the Tigers already have a similar shortstop prospect in Eugenio Suarez. Suarez is a 20 year old who broke out in 2012, hitting.288/.380/.409 with 6 home runs, 67 RBI and 21 stolen bases at Single A West Michigan.
Though Ahmed is a high level prospect, especially with the glove, he alone would not be nearly enough to get Porcello. If the Diamondbacks can put together a package which would interest the Tigers is yet to be determined. Keep in mind Porcello is only two years older than Ahmed and and already an established big league pitcher. I'm not inclined to believe Dave Dombrowski would accept just a Single A shortstop prospect (or prospects period) in return for Porcello.
When asked about the rumor, the always taciturn Dombrowski said, "I don't know anything about that."
What's Porcello's take on all the trade talk? The topic was broached during today's leg of the Winter Caravan by Matthew B. Mowery of The Oakland Press:
"I’m preparing to go down to Spring Training and get ready for a season like I would any other year. If something changes, then I’ll adjust accordingly. Right now, I’m ready to do whatever I can to help this team win. Obviously, hopefully win a spot in the rotation, otherwise do whatever I can to help the club. That’s it. That’s my job."