Rick Porcello allowed the most hits (226) among American League pitchers last season. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Three teams have contacted the Tigers to inquire about pitcher Rick Porcello, according to major-league sources in a report by Jon Morosi of Fox Sports.
The Mariners and Orioles are believed to be the most interested teams, with the Padres also kicking the tires on the right-hander.
It's widely believed that Porcello could improve on last year's numbers -- 10-12, 4.59 ERA -- if he pitched on a team fielding a better infield defense behind him. Just five qualifying American League pitchers induced more ground balls than Porcello (51.4 percent) last year, despite the Tigers' lack of infielders with better than average range. Porcello coaxed 314 ground balls -- 1.73 per inning and 10.15 per start -- in 182 innings pitched last season. The Tigers still managed to record a putout, double play or fielder's choice on 72.6 percent of those ground balls with Porcello on the mound. He also allowed the most hits (226) among AL pitchers last season.
Interested teams are also aware that Porcello, who will turn 24 next week, doesn't come up for free agency until after the 2015 season and has improved on his strikeout-to-walk and home-runs allowed ratio in each year of his career.
Detroit's re-signing of Anibal Sanchez raised speculation that the Tigers were willing to listen to offers for Porcello
. The Tigers are believed to be interested in a right-handed outfield bat and late-inning relief pitcher in talks for Porcello.