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Could Orioles trade Jim Johnson for Porcello?


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Could Orioles trade Jim Johnson for Porcello?

1 minute ago by JonPaulMorosi

The Baltimore Orioles aren?t interested in trading shortstop J.J. Hardy to Detroit for starter Rick Porcello.

They may be more willing to trade closer Jim Johnson.

At first blush, that seems odd. But there?s a sabermetric rationale behind it.

Johnson could have a superb 2013 season and still not approach what he accomplished last year: He led the majors with 51 saves, made his first All-Star appearance and was one of the most dominant relievers in baseball. He turns 30 this June, so he?s right in the middle of his prime.

At the moment, Porcello is probably the best fifth starter in baseball ? considering his potential (still young at 24) and the Tigers? pitching depth. Porcello is coming off an unspectacular season, 10-12 with a 4.59 ERA. But his numbers would improve with a better defensive infield ? which the Orioles have, with the likes of Hardy and Manny Machado.

Porcello is three seasons away from free agency, Johnson only two. Porcello has averaged a little more than 170 innings per year over his major-league career. Johnson logged just under 70 in 2012, within the normal range for a closer on a winning team.

So, Porcello figures to throw more than 500 innings before becoming a free agent. Johnson might offer only 140. Put another way: Johnson, with less than one-third of Porcello?s expected workload, would need to pitch pretty spectacularly over the next two seasons in order to be more valuable than a theoretically improved Porcello.

If Orioles general manager Dan Duquette is willing to move Johnson in the right deal, the availability of replacements would be one reason why. Free agent Rafael Soriano is unsigned, along with buy-low candidates Brian Wilson and Jose Valverde. The open market remains laden with semi-closer types like Brandon Lyon and Matt Lindstrom. Pedro Strop and Luis Ayala are internal candidates to close.

The Tigers, meanwhile, would like to add a veteran to the back end of the bullpen, in case Bruce Rondon isn?t ready to close for a World Series contender at age 22 ? without having thrown a pitch in the major leagues.

-- Jon Paul Morosi

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Not bashing the OP, but I hate articles like this. It gives a good breakdown but doesn't tell anyone anything if a deal is in the works.

Now the OH will get all excited and act as if this deal is really on the table and there'll be a ton of hypotheticals thrown out there.

You're sitting in it now.

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Not bashing the OP, but I hate articles like this. It gives a good breakdown but doesn't tell anyone anything if a deal is in the works.

Now the OH will get all excited and act as if this deal is really on the table and there'll be a ton of hypotheticals thrown out there.

I disagree. Someone in the Tigers front office probably planted the idea in Morosi's mind.

The O's aren't trading Hardy or Johnson for Porcello, but the Tigers would sure love it if they would.

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Don't think I'd do this. But I do love Porcello's potential, and am not adverse to selling high on Johnson. Really, it's not too far off in terms of value and does make sense for both sides. Johnson for Porcello and a reasonable prospect? I'd probably pull the trigger on that.

But I don't think the Orioles would do this. The pen was a huge part of our surge last year and I don't think DD wants to weaken it.

The idea that Luis Ayala is an internal option to close is laughable. I'd put O'Day and Strop ahead of him without blinking. I'd put Hunter and even Matusz and Arrieta first as well.

If we had more quality starting pitchers I'd consider making Miguel Gonzalez a closer too. I have serious doubts about his ability to hold up over the course of this upcoming season. He's absolutely fearless on the mound and has the perfect closer's mentality and pitching approach. Plus, his split-change makes him effective vs LH batters (Strop, I'm looking at you).

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I'm all for trading Johnson while his value is high and I like Porcello a bit more than most here, but no way would I do this. There'd need to be a couple of solid prospects coming back our way too before I'd even think about it. Or maybe they'd be willing to send Victor Martinez back our way, that'd take care of SP and a middle of the order hitter and clear our overloaded bullpen.

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I'd like this trade. It's obviously not as lop-sided toward the O's as most people here would want, but it's a deal that looks good for both teams. I'd like a 2nd player back from the Tigers, but then again, this deal seems close enough that I can't imagine the quality of MiL'er you'd get back would be all that great.

As for replacement options ...

Not all that fond of our internal options. I'd be ok with Lyon or Lindstrom and would actually prefer them over Wilson and Valverde. I think, at first glance, Soriano would obviously be the 1st guy you'd want, but I'm a little iffy on giving up draft compensation for a reliever. Plus, he wouldn't be cheap ... would Duquette be allowed to pay a reliever what it would take to bring in a guy like Soriano?

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Let's all take a deep breath here... Buck and DD are not moving JimJohn for a player that may not be better than the options we already have (including JJ in a starting pitching role himself).

To move JJ we'd need to be getting back something really intriguing. I could see a JJ for Porcello and Castellanos deal, although that might still not be enough for DD to pull the trigger. I feel like the Tigers' dire need of good relief pitching and their owner's desperate attempts to win a World Series ASAP put us in a good position to raid their farm system in exchange for JJ, if we so choose.

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But is Porcello any better, really, than some combination of Steve Johnson, Arrieta, and Britton? Not to mention Bundy and Gausman.

You can't have enough pitching, but I feel like we have some comparable guys already in the wings and Johnson is worth more to the O's than he is to others. He's a home grown stud with a rare fastball who does great charitable things off the field. If he's being traded, it's going to be for someone with more upside than Porcello, IMO.

Porcello has a ton of upside. This has been beaten to death here, but his groundball rates pitching in front of a defense not featuring 550 lbs in the corner infield indicate immediately better results even without any core improvements. Plus, his peripheral stats have shown core improvements in every year, he's still very young, and a formerly extremely highly regarded prospect.

Porcello almost certainly won't ever strike out enough guys to be a TOR. But with continued improvements as he approaches his peak, and an actual infield defense, he's got legitimate 2/3 potential. That, plus his floor is probably already much higher than all of the Orioles current starting options.

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I disagree. Someone in the Tigers front office probably planted the idea in Morosi's mind.

The O's aren't trading Hardy or Johnson for Porcello, but the Tigers would sure love it if they would.

Yeah someone in Detroit is dreaming. Not happening.

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People won't like it, but this is a move that would make some sense. Paying JJ $7M in 2013 and $10M+ in 2014 is not very cost effective for the ballclub. Would it be nice to get an additional piece in return? Of course. But Porcello is a lot better than most give him credit for, and he's still very young.

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