We are in the doldrums of the offseason. The Cubs have signed a number of mid-level free agents, and appear to have at the very least strengthened their pitching staff.
This post can't even be characterized as a "report", because it's not. But Roch Kubatko of MASN, the RSN that carries Baltimore Orioles games, wrote about an interesting trade possibility he "heard":
I heard last night that the Tigers and Cubs are discussing a potential trade involving pitcher Rick Porcello, who also interests the Orioles. Now here's the rumored kicker: The Tigers are trying to get the Orioles involved because they want shortstop J.J. Hardy, and they don't feel as though the Cubs have the necessary components to make it a two-team trade. For this to happen, the Cubs would have to send pitching to the Orioles as part of a three-way deal. I still don't think the Orioles are willing to part with Hardy unless they're absolutely overwhelmed by an offer. They love the left side of their infield. They're not looking to shift Manny Machado to shortstop in 2O13. Also, since the Orioles have discussed Porcello, why would they need the Cubs to get involved? Just deal directly. Anyway, that's the word on the street. We'll see what transpires.
The Porcello-to-the-Cubs rumor has floated around for quite some time. What sort of pitching would the Cubs have to send to Baltimore to complete this three-way deal? Could it be Matt Garza? That would save the Cubs some money; Garza is likely to make somewhere around $11 million this year, while Porcello, five years younger, probably winds up around half that.
Porcello is a former first-round pick who had a fine year as a rookie at age 20 and finished third in A.L. Rookie of the Year voting in 2009. Since then, he's regressed. At 24, he still has the chance to get better.
If the Cubs didn't have to give up any prospects in such a deal, I'd be inclined to make it. What say you?