Porcello Optioned to Toledo

Well, it worked for Max Scherzer. The Tigers have optioned struggling second year pitcher Rick Porcello to Toledo to try and find the sinker and pinpoint command that he featured in his first season.

The Tigers didn’t announce a corresponding roster move so they are a man down on the roster for the time being. Perusing the Mud Hens roster, last night’s starter LJ Gagnier has done okay this year between Erie and Toledo. Alfredo Figaro has experience but hasn’t really done much to differentiate himself last year (not to mention his disastrous relief appearance against the Yankees.

Looking further down the ladder the name that certainly has to be tempting the Tigers is Andy Oliver. Oliver was the Tigers second pick in the draft and the left hander debuted in the AFL before earning an aggressive promotion to AA to start the year. He has 70 K’s and 25 walks in 77.1 innings and happened to start last night putting him on the same schedule as Porcello.

It would certainly be an aggressive move, but the Tigers have never shied away from being aggressive with prospects in the past (with mixed results)


  1. Browngates

    June 20, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Probably overdue, but good move for Porcello and the Tigers – let’s hope the Toledo magic continues.

  2. Scott

    June 20, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    yes, this had to be done. He’s not the same pitcher as what we saw last year. It’s not like we’re giving up on him, he needs some ‘technique refinement’. Get fixed up bud….then c’mon back!

  3. Brenden

    June 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Yeah, this was definitely needed. Being as young as he is, he probably just needs to work on his mechanics now that his is getting “man muscles”.

  4. walter55

    June 20, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    They could always get real crazy and bring up Furbush.

  5. Keith (Mr. X)

    June 20, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Thinking out loud, we must be pretty darn good if Porcello is our biggest problem in the starting rotation. Fixing him should be about as easy as changing a light bulb.

    • Vince in MN

      June 20, 2010 at 5:17 pm

      Cue the lightbulb joke: How many _______________

  6. Vince in MN

    June 20, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    With a day off tomorrow they could skip his spot again. They play 9 straight days from Tuesday through the following Wednesday and then have Thursday July 1st off, so theoretically they could skip his spot twice. My guess is that they go with Gonzalez one in there though. Then they could bring up another reliever or in a more unlikely scenario, call up another bat and go with 11 pitchers – I don’t think Leyland would do that though.

    • Coleman

      June 20, 2010 at 6:03 pm

      Or they could bring up a reliever and give Bonine a start

      • Keith (Mr. X)

        June 20, 2010 at 6:19 pm

        Or have Brad Thomas start like they did before.

    • Vince in MN

      June 20, 2010 at 9:48 pm

      Oliver is an interesting possibility in that he is at Erie, which of course is close to NYC. They could ship him in for one start and then immediately send him back to be replaced by someone else, perhaps even a hitter, depending on circumstances. The Tigers have been vrey creative in shuffling players back and forth from the minors this year. I guess whether or not the clock is already ticking on Oliver could dictate that decision.

      • Maeby

        June 20, 2010 at 10:42 pm

        What do you mean by, “if the clock is already ticking on Oliver…?” The Tigers are simply waiting for a potential permanent opening in the rotation? If so, I’m going to have to disagree with you there. He’s only 2.5 months into his pro career.

        • Vince in MN

          June 20, 2010 at 11:26 pm

          I was thinking of 40-man roster obligations. If he is not on it he would have to be put on it (I don’t know – didn’t look it up). That would set his clock running if I am not mistaken. Also, he may have some contractual deadline date where he has to be put on the ML roster (Verlander did I think). Normally you would want to leave them in the minors and bring them on slowly, but these days with expensive high level draft picks those priorities don’t always apply.

  7. Chris in Dallas

    June 20, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Well, something similar happened to Roy Halladay in his second year. Everything seems to have worked out OK for him…

  8. Maeby

    June 20, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Other than the scheduling and location conveniences, I really don’t see why the Tigers would bring up Andy Oliver for a spot start. It would be one thing if he was lighting the Eastern League on fire, but most of his numbers don’t seem to indicate this. If he is the top prospect his is thought to be, his 3.61 ERA and almost 1.30 WHIP, in double-A mind you, don’t seem to signal he is ready to pitch in the big leagues, even for a spot start yet. The real reason I don’t expect this, though, is that the Porcello demotion is only a short-term move until he rewrites the ship, which is almost certainly bound to happen rather quickly. When Andy Oliver is brought up, it will be for good. Unless of course the Tigers are out of the race in September, I could see him up for a quick cup of coffee at the end of the year.

    Having said that, I would be hella excited to see him pitch.

    • Vince in MN

      June 20, 2010 at 11:36 pm

      I agree that the Oliver scenario is pretty unlikley. My guess is that they go with Gonzalez since he was already starting at Toledo. As far as Porcello returning quickly though, I don’t know that we can depend on that. Scherzer seemed to get straightened out quickly, but it sounds like Porcello’s difficulties may be more complicated.

  9. Mark@HOU

    June 20, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Going to need a starter for Saturday. Don’t let people say we don’t need a fifth starter.
    Tues: Verlander
    Wed: Bondo
    Thurs Mr. Perfect
    Fri Scherzer

    Can’t roll Verlander on 3 days rest, cause it does you no good. However I bet they wait until sat to call whomever up. An extra pinch hitter is nice to have for the NL parks.

    • Vince in MN

      June 21, 2010 at 7:44 am

      Diaz because of Laird’s stiff neck? Plus all the double switching Leyland is going to do.

  10. Jerry The Tiger Fan

    June 21, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Porcello needs to develop a strikeout pitch or he’ll never be the reliable #2 starter we are all counting on him to be for the next five years.

    • JCM

      June 21, 2010 at 8:42 am

      According to Passan he had one but the Tigers stopped him from using it

  11. Stormin Norman $

    June 21, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Apparently Thomas or more likely Bonine will fill Porcello’s starting spot; as the AP is reporting that “Tigers plan to call up Sborz”…”right-handed Sborz is 1-1 with a 3.04 ERA, 15 saves and 28 strikeouts in 24 appearances with the Mud Hens.”