On Monday evening, I decided to have a little fun with the Rick Porcello trade rumors, in particular the rumor that the Seattle Mariners are interested in him. Over twitter, I've gotten to know Joel Condreay (@JCondreay), a Mariners fan who blogs about them for SodoMojo.com, and asked for his help. We decided to do a mock GM conversation in regards to trading Rick Porcello to the Mariners. I acted as the Tigers GM, and Joel as the Mariners GM. We didn't want this to be a full scale rosterbation exercise, so we decided to act how we feel real GM's act when discussing trade proposals, with several offers and counteroffers, consultation with our respective "scouting departments", and so on. Here's how the process went, along with my thoughts as it unfolded:
7:53 PM (EST)
Joel emailed me his first proposal, which was SS Brad Miller, LHP Charlie Furbush, and OF Guillermo Pimentel for RHP Rick Porcello. Once I received this deal, I elicited the help of Jordan Gorosh to act as my "scouting department", and together we broke down the potential value. We decided that Miller, who has a chance to stick at SS, doesn't have the ceiling of a MLB regular, and is more of a utility type. Furbush, as we all know, is a usable bullpen lefty who has some value, but shouldn't be a major cog in any deal. Pimentel intrigued us, as he's a young, raw corner OF with exceptional power projection, but we didn't know a ton about him. We decided to say no to this deal, and drew up a counteroffer.
8:05 PM (EST)
I expressed to Joel our desire to get a true, potential everyday SS as part of the deal, even if that SS may not be ready to step in full time in 2013. I also explained that we have no "untouchable" prospects, and are willing to make this deal a big one should both sides see fit. I also mentioned that Brennan Boesch is available, which Joel shot down instantly (smart move, kid). Joel mentioned that he was interested in Avisail Garcia, which Jordan and I took into account.
8:35 PM (EST)
I proposed a counteroffer to Joel, which consisted of RHP Rick Porcello and OF Avisail Garcia for SS Nick Franklin, RHP Tom Wilhelmsen, OF Casper Wells, and RHP Carter Capps. Franklin is a switch hitting shortstop prospect with average or better tools across the board. We think he can stick at SS and be a solid regular in the MLB. Wilhelmsen is a big reliever who closed for Seattle in 2012, recording 29 saves across nearly 80 innings, with a 2.50 ERA and 87 K's vs only 29 BB's. We wanted Wilhelmsen because he brings an established closer to the Detroit bullpen, stabilizing it and allowing guys like Benoit, Coke, and Dotel to remain in their more comfortable roles as set up guys, while not rushing Bruce Rondon. Casper Wells, as we all know, is a right handed hitting outfielder who brings good D, a plus arm, and some power to the position. We felt that he would pair perfectly with Andy Dirks as a platoon in LF. Carter Capps is a fireballing right handed reliever who has been clocked up to 100 MPH, and made his MLB debut with the Mariners in 2012. We believe he would come right in and compete for a job in the Tigers bullpen, probably as a set up man.
9:18 PM (EST)
Joel got back to me, saying that he "actually really likes this deal for the most part", but "can't dismantle his bullpen like that right now". His counteroffer was to change out Tom Wilhelmsen for Shawn Kelly, another right handed reliever without the same shutdown stuff, and to throw in a depth starter like Hector Noesi or DJ Mitchell. Again, I consulted with Jordan, and we decided that we really wanted Wilhelmsen, but we'd be willing to drop Carter Capps from the deal.
9:28 PM (EST)
Jordan and I decided that Wilhelmsen needed to be part of the deal, so we did a little digging and came up with the following counteroffer: Porcello and Garcia for Franklin, Wilhelmsen, Wells, Victor Sanchez, and Noesi. Victor Sanchez is an under the radar pitching prospect that's very young, but shows the projection for a plus fastball, plus slider, and usable changeup, giving him the upside of a #2-3 starter (according to some scouts). Noesi is a starting pitcher that we would acquire for depth purposes. He was acquired by the Mariners in the Jesus Montero deal from the Yankees, and has started and relieved in his career. He's a back end starter at his best, but has the ability to be effective out of the bullpen as well. We thought our club could use a swingman like that, and would provide needed depth to the starting rotation.
9:58 PM (EST)
Joel balked at the idea of adding Victor Sanchez to the deal, and felt like he was "overpaying a bit", which he probably would have been. He proposed that in lieu of Victor Sanchez, he would add Jordan Shipers to the deal, a left handed pitching prospect that has both starting and relieving ability. I consulted with Jordan Gorosh, and we decided that Shipers is essentially the same as any other soft tossing lefty that we have in the system, and that since we had recently acquired Kyle Lobstein, a similar pitcher, we had no need for such a player at this time.
10:09 PM (EST)
I inquired about Brandon Maurer, hoping to get lucky, but Joel was too smart for me and quickly told me no. Maurer is a starting pitching prospect with #2 upside, but gets somewhat lost in the prospect shuffle behind such guys like Tijuan Walker. Joel then proposed adding Anthony Fernandez to the deal, a left handed pitcher, and I said that I would consult with Jordan.
10:15 PM (EST)
Jordan and I did some research on Fernandez, found that he's a left handed starting pitcher who owns a 4 pitch mix, somewhat in the same mold as Drew Smyly, and offers a #4 starter upside. We decided that Fernandez would work, and emailed Joel the final proposal:
RHP Rick Porcello and OF Avisail Garcia to Seattle for SS Nick Franklin, RHP Tom Wilhelmsen, OF Casper Wells, LHP Anthony Fernandez, and RHP Hector Noesi.
10:26 PM (EST)
Joel responded to me with "you got yourself a deal sir", and the fake trade was finalized.
It's important to understand that I did this for several reasons. First, because I was genuinely interested as to what kind of value Rick Porcello holds to other teams. Second, because I knew Joel, as a baseball nut like myself, an intelligent guy, and very well versed in the Mariners system, would be an excellent counterpart in this exercise. Third, because I believe there is a dearth of actually viable and reasonable trade proposals on the internet. And fourth, because dammit this was fun.
I wanted to make this as realistic an exercise as possible. Obviously, I don't know for sure how GM's work out trades, because I've never been privy to one. But I thought it was important to illustrate that it's much more complex than just saying "Hey do you want Porcello? Great. Deal done", as some on the internet wish to believe it is. There are scouting departments involved, medical clearance, potential money issues, etc, etc.
Overall, I had a great time with this, and think that Joel and I worked out a helluva trade, which is beneficial to both teams.
I hope you enjoyed it as well.