The Red Sox have been shopping Yoenis Cespedes to various teams during the entire winter meetings, and it appears they finally found a suitor. The Tigers have sent Rick Porcello to Boston in exchange for Cespedes, bolstering the Tigers' outfield while giving the Red Sox another starting pitcher that they desperately need. MLB Network Radio's C.J. Nitkowski first reported news of a trade, while MLB.com's Jason Beck confirmed.
If that's not enough for you, Ben Cherington is admitting it's done, too, and he never admits anything.
Cespedes was one of the few major power bats available anywhere this offseason, so it was all but guaranteed he would be dealt once the Red Sox went out and signed third baseman Pablo Sandoval and then Hanley Ramirez with the intention of using him to play left. The Tigers have lacked depth in their lineup, but not in their rotation, so dealing Porcello in the final year of his deal in exchange for the last year of Cespedes makes all kinds of sense for them.
Porcello is a pitcher who has been on the cusp of a breakout for years -- he entered the majors when he was all of 20 years old back in 2009, and already has nearly 1,100 career innings under his belt. The 2014 season marked the first time he crossed the 200-inning threshold, and you wouldn't be wrong if you believed a lot of that had to do with improving the infield defense in Detroit. Porcello is a ground ball pitcher, and the Tigers, as recently as 2013, employed Miguel Cabrera at third base and Prince Fielder at first. With Fielder gone, Ian Kinsler at second, and Cabrera back at first, Porcello's batting average on balls in play dipped to a normal .298, the first time it was under .300 since 2009, and the first time under .310 since 2010. Not incidentally, his ERA matched his FIP for the first time, and he produced a 116 ERA+.
Sox could add Shields even with Miley and Porcello
The Red Sox have already added two starting pitchers, but that doesn't mean there's no room for Big Game James.
The Tigers have notoriously poor infield defenses, if you were wondering. The Red Sox have Mike Napoli at first, Dustin Pedroia at second, and Pablo Sandoval at third, all three, if not Gold Glove winners directly, certainly worthy of the honor or at least still good enough that it's worth mentioning in light of Porcello.
Porcello will be just 26 in 2015, and the Red Sox have the money to extend him if the right-hander is amenable. Porcello made $8.5 million in 2014, his second year of arbitration, and will likely pull in something around $11-12 million in his final season of eligibility. It's worth it to the Red Sox to explore an extension, as pitchers Porcello's age with their ceilings do not hit free agency often.
WEEI's Alex Speier reports that the Red Sox are also sending the Tigers reliever Alex Wilson as well as one low-level minor-league pitcher to complete the deal, and later reported that Gulf Coast League lefty Gabe Speier is the second pitcher in the deal. Speier, a 19th round pick in the 2013 draft, will be just 20 this season and has all of 33 pro innings to his name, while Wilson is a decent relief option in a Tigers' bullpen lacking them.
The Red Sox are also reportedly finishing up a deal for Diamondbacks' starter Wade Miley. While neither Miley nor Porcello are aces, they are both capable of being very strong mid-rotation arms, and the Red Sox were desperate for those at the start of the meetings.