Porcello could be a coveted pitcher for some teams. Just 24 years old, he still has two years of team control remaining and has held his own in the majors thus far, with a chance of taking a big step forward in the future. He has been a full-time starter each of the last five seasons and has a career 4.51 ERA and 1.39 WHIP.
In 2013, Porcello made 29 starts and three relief appearances with a 4.32 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. He struck out 142 batters while walking just 42.
Plenty of teams figure to at least inquire about Porcello. Here are four in particular that could make an effort to acquire the right-hander:
The Padres chased Porcello one year ago, offering Jesus Guzman as part of the return. After a bad 2013 campaign, Guzman is nothing more than filler in a trade at this point, meaning the Padres would need to come up with another package if they still hope to land Porcello. The team may not be as willing to trade for a pitcher this offseason, however. They have a deep rotation of starters that would not cost them a prospect.
The Dodgers have to have their hand dipped into every pot this year. And while they have Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu topping their rotation, Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley are far from locks for the fourth and fifth spots. Los Angeles says they don't want to go more than two years for a free agent pitcher, ruling out players such as Matt Garza and Ervin Santana. They could turn to Porcello as a cheaper, still-solid option. Their interest may hinge on what they are able to do in the David Price and Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes, though.
With Chris Davis leading the charge, Baltimore was a top-5 scoring teams in the MLB in 2013. Unfortunately, their starting pitching was in the bottom five of ERA with a 4.57 mark. Chris Tillman was the only member of the rotation to start 30 games, and Miguel Gonzalez was the only pitcher besides Tillman to reach 150 innings. The Orioles say they want more pitchers like Tillman in their rotation and have been involved in trade rumors for a pitcher this offseason. If they have any hopes of advancing into the later stages of the postseason, they need to fix their rotation.
Arizona has been heavily rumored to be interested in Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija. It makes sense that they could then also have an interest in Porcello. Samardzija put up fairly similar numbers to Porcello in 2013 with a 4.34 ERA and 1.35 WHIP, though the Cubs starter had many more strikeouts. If the Cubs are asking too much for Samardzija, Arizona may look in another direction.