Update: Jim Leyland vehemently denies this report.
FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi reports Rick Porcello's start is being pushed back a day for Triple-A Toledo to showcase him for a possible trade. The probably partner? The Arizona Diamondbacks, which brings Dan Haren's name to mind instantly.
One source told FOXSports.com that the decision came from Detroit — not the organization’s minor league officials — raising the possibility that Porcello will pitch before a special scouting audience on Saturday in Toledo.
When asked this week if Porcello is absolutely untouchable, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski replied, "I don’t ever use the word ‘untouchable’ on any players, but he’s not a guy we’re looking to trade."
Now before we get ahead of ourselves too far, this isn't the first time we've seen mention of Porcello being pushed back a day.
Toledo pitcher and oft-Twitterer Scot Drucker wrote on his blog Thursday he'd be taking a spot start to take the pressure off the pitching staff.
I'm getting a spot start tomorrow to help give some of our staff and breather and for the big league club to line up their starters for the 2nd half.
While Jon Paul Morosi is one of the national reporters whose reports I trust the most -- his track record as related to the Tigers has been excellent -- it's possible this is nothing at all, simply Porcello and Armando Galarraga getting lined up correctly to rejoin the Tigers after the break.
But let's play along with Morosi for a moment. If Porcello is being showcased, who is it for? His report states that Houston's Roy Oswalt has already stated he would use his no-trade clause to veto a move to Detroit. So, Haren is the most likely candidate:
Haren will earn $12.75 million in each of the next two seasons, followed by a $15.5 million club option for 2013.
Haren is probably a better fit for the Tigers, anyway, because he has demonstrated that he can have success in the American League; Oswalt is a career National Leaguer. (The Tigers also pursued Haren via trade after the 2007 season, and it’s worth noting that Detroit manager Jim Leyland picked Haren to start the 2007 All-Star Game.)
Haren's ERA with the Diamondbacks this year is 4.38, but he has a 3.45 xFIP alongside it, so you expect improvement. His biggest problem right now appears to be a bit of bad luck, as his ground ball and line drive rates are pretty much in line with his career norms, and his strikeout and walk numbers are better than his career average. In his last season in the American League, with the A's, he had a 3.07 ERA and 3.87 xFIP.
A rotation with Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Dan Haren as the top three through the year 2012 would certainly make the Tigers a team to be recommended with for years to come.
Full disclosuer: I've been a Dan Haren fan since he came up with the A's. So this would really excite me quite a bit.
Understandably, this news would dismay many Tigers fans who are big supporters of Porcello.
But as I tried to say at the top of the post, just because there's a report doesn't mean you should read too much into it or stress about it. Many trade rumors will circulate throughout the month of July, and most of them don't come to fruition.