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Acquiring Greene Could Make Tigers More Willing To Trade Porcello, Price

By Ashley Dunkak

CBS DETROIT - The swap of starting pitcher Robbie Ray and infield prospect Domingo Leyba for starting pitcher Shane Greene of the New York Yankees could help the Detroit Tigers in several ways.

First, if everything else stays the same, Greene gives them a more palatable fifth starter than Ray or any other minor league option. Ray began his major league career last season with two solid starts, allowing just one earned run between them. As the year continued, however, he faltered, allowing seven, four, four and six earned runs, respectively, in his next four starts.

Greene, on the other hand, held opponents to three earned runs or fewer in 11 of his 14 starts in 2014. He struggled in September, twice giving up six earned runs, but his overall numbers - including a 3.78 ERA - are considerably more attractive than those of Ray, who finished the year with an ERA of 8.16 over six starts and three relief appearances.

What will happen long-term will either player is far from certain since both have pitched so little in the majors, but it appears Greene will be a steadier option than Ray.

The trade of Ray for Greene could also help the Tigers by making some of their higher-profile starters more expendable. David Price and Rick Porcello hit free agency after this season, and Detroit could part ways with either in order to shore up some of its weaknesses in the outfield or the bullpen. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported both Price and Porcello have drawn strong interest from teams. Price turned in an ERA of 3.26 over 248 1/3 innings in 2014, and Porcello narrowly missed out on an All-Star bid and finished with a 3.43 ERA and pitched three complete games.

General manager Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit News the Tigers are not advertising their starters, but in no way does that mean Dombrowski will not listen to offers and pull the trigger if he feels the deal is right.

Last and certainly least, the acquisition of Greene gives the Tigers another chance at making the Doug Fister trade look worthwhile.

From the beginning, the trading away of Fister for Ray, reliever Ian Krol and utility man Steve Lombardozzi puzzled many. When Fister put together a sparkling season (2.41 ERA over 25 starts) for the Washington Nationals, people disliked the deal even more. When the Tigers traded center fielder Austin Jackson and starting pitcher Drew Smyly to beef up the rotation by adding Price, who had a solid season but not one nearly as good as Fister did, fans criticized the trade even more. Now the Tigers have just one of the three pieces they received in exchange for Fister.

If Greene blossoms into a reliable major league starter, of course, the narrative turns positive - unless Fister continues to put up numbers like he did last season, in which case fans will always look back on the Fister trade as one of the most unfortunate of Dave Dombrowski's estimable tenure as general manager.

Time will tell, but at the outset, it looks like the trade for Greene has plenty of upside.

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