SAN DIEGO — With a wild Winter Meetings cruising toward its conclusion, the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers made a trade Thursday that makes sense for both sides — the Red Sox sent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Tigers in exchange for pitcher Rick Porcello.
The two sides matched up, with Boston needing starting pitching and having a surplus of outfielders while Detroit needed a replacement for Torii Hunter and could trade a starter for the right return.
After their efforts to re-sign Jon Lester were shot down, the Red Sox have prioritized getting workhorse starting pitchers who can throw 200 innings a year. They reportedly swung a trade for Wade Miley on Wednesday, and now for Porcello, who threw 204 innings in 2014 for Detroit. He was 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA.
Porcello is 25, and like Cespedes, will be a free agent after this season. So it's a rental agreement that helps both sides. The Tigers lost Hunter in free agency, so Cespedes fits immediately into their outfield. He also adds another electric bat to a lineup that features Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. Cespedes hit 22 homers with 100 RBIs last season between Oakland and Boston. But his batting average was only .260 and his OPS was .751, down more than 100 points from his 2012 rookie season.
Despite Max Scherzer's free agency and Porcello getting shipped to Boston, the Tigers still have a solid pitching rotation with David Price, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and the recently acquired Shane Greene. They've added Reds pitcher Alfredo Simon in another trade Thursday morning, filling the space left by the Porcello move.
The Tigers are now saying they won't try to re-sign Scherzer, which will hurt them. But having Cespedes next to Cabrera in the batting order won't.
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