The Boston Red Sox and newly-acquired starting pitcher Rick Porcello are not discussing anything off of the mound, as of yet. For all parties concerned, that is probably the best thing for everyone.
Porcello becomes a free agent after the 2015 season. The $12.5 million that the Red Sox will pay him this year will likely not be enough for Porcello’s liking for a new contract. Yet, Red Sox beat writer Brian MacPherson of Providence Journal tweeted this message yesterday:
It seems to be more than just deflecting the question, however. Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com stated, yesterday, that “Porcello, who is represented by Jim Murray of Excel Management, said there have been no conversations to date with the Red Sox regarding an extension. Asked if the club had made any overtures, he said no.”
And why should they? Why should any of them discuss the contract of a pitcher of Porcello’s quality, when this season will likely determine the future of the Red Sox and the pitcher himself.
"“I think the focus should be on baseball and our team and what we’re going to do moving forward.” – Rick Porcello, on playing for the Red Sox this season"
Wise words. For a pitcher like Porcello, there are many factors that he has control over when he is on the bump. Last season was the first time in his six-year career that he pitched over 200 innings. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was 3.27 for the past two seasons, a healthy increase from past seasons. Porcello even had three complete-game shutouts in 2014. These are the numbers of a starting pitcher on the rise, and, if they continue to increase, will spell big money for the native of New Jersey. Why settle for less money, when the potential could go up?
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox Nation deserves far more from Fenway Sports Group
- Bizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
And why should the Red Sox want to discuss the matter further? Who knows what 2015 will bring? Porcello is a career-average 14-12 record pitcher, with a career winning percentage of .547 and a 4.30 ERA. Last season, he earned a 15-13 record, with a 3.43 ERA. The numbers are good, but will the Red Sox want to pay top dollar for a pitcher who has not shown true ace qualities yet?
While his pitching arsenal is not overtly dominating, he keeps himself out of trouble by allowing the defense to make outs for him. FanGraphs.com has Porcello’s fastball at just under 91 mph, and uses both the four-seamer and two-seamer about 59% of the time. He also has a good slider, curve, and changeup which help him get just under 50% of the balls hit off of him to be grounders.
Much of the decisions needing to be made for the Red Sox relies on the data they will obtain this season. Since much of their starting rotation is built from short-term contracts on pitchers who may or may not pan out, nothing should be set in stone, until near the end of the season. Porcello could turn into the ace of this rotation, but his progress on the mound could also wain. He also may decide that his future lies elsewhere, for more money or for whatever reason. So why should either Porcello or the Red Sox think past 2015? Both the team and the player have a lot to prove. Let’s just ride the wave and see if glory comes calling.