Red Sox 25 in 25: Rick Porcello


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Going into this offseason, it was clear the Red Sox were going to have to move some outfielders off the roster and get some starting pitching in the process. The Red Sox killed two birds with one stone when they sent outfielder

Yoenis Cespedes

(along with reliever

Alex Wilson

and a minor leaguer) to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for starting pitcher

Rick Porcello

. Aside from filling needs on both teams, the exchange of Cespedes and Porcello involved two players in the last year of arbitration. Porcello settled with the Red Sox in his arbitration case for a $12.5 million salary for 2015.

In Cespedes, the Red Sox were giving up a player almost certain to test free agency, while getting a player in Porcello who might be more amenable to re-signing. Porcello has been quick to downplay any talk of re-upping with the Red Sox expressing a need to get acclimated to his new surroundings.

"“The most important thing in my mind is getting settled in in spring training. I’m going to head down there in a couple of days,” Porcello said. “Just getting off to a good start and really locking in and having a good year.”–"

The Red Sox may have gotten a pitcher in Porcello who is primed for an outstanding year. In 2014, Porcello set career bests in ERA (3.43, 3.67 FIP), shutouts (a league-leading three) and innings pitched (204.2) while continuing his streak of making at least 27 starts in all six years of his big league career. Along with Wade Miley, 2015’s Red Sox rotation has two durable starters to rely on throughout the grind of 162 games.

Porcello relies on his sinker (a common theme among this Red Sox starting rotation) which usually stays in the 91-93 mph range. His curveball (81-83 mph) seems to be his best breaking pitch, also able to induce groundballs at times. His changeup is probably his third best pitch which can abandon him at times due to inconsistency. His slider can induce groundballs if he can get batters to chase it out of the zone, but the curveball is his preferred breaking pitch.

The Red Sox rotation in 2015 is one in which any of the pitchers could step up and become the ace. Each has a proven track record of success, though Porcello is probably coming off the best year of the group. Clay Buchholz has had the most success out of any of the rotation with his two seasons of an ERA under 2.5. Coming off a year of 5.34 ERA, Buchholz cannot be considered an ace, however.

If the Red Sox do not go out and get an ace for 2015’s rotation, can Rick Porcello step up and be the ace for the Red Sox this season? Porcello won’t get Max Scherzer-type money in his first free agent contract in 2016, though a big year this year will be worth a 50-70 million dollar contract. Certainly enough motivation for any pitcher to go out and have that big year and win his first ring.

Come back tomorrow for the next in our Red Sox 25 in 25 series: Hanley Ramirez

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