Red Sox are clear winners in the Rick Porcello contract

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Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /

Veteran pitcher examples

Adam Wainwright – 5 years, $97.5 million (AAV = $19.5 million)

Wainwright signed this extension with the Cardinals in the spring of 2013.  It would keep him in St. Louis from his age-32-through-36 seasons.  Although this was on the heels of two great seasons in 2009 and 2010, Wainwright signed this deal after a 2011 season that he missed due to injury and a 2012 season in which he compiled a 3.94 ERA and 96 ERA+.

Given the age difference and their performance in the years preceding the deal, can anyone honestly say they would rather have signed Wainwright to this contract than the one the Red Sox signed Porcello?  He had missed all of 2011 and then accumulated a near-4 ERA in his walk year, which is made much less impressive when you consider the league and division at the time.  Regardless, if a 32-year-old Wainwright, coming off the two seasons he was, is worth $19.5 million per season for five years, Porcello should have received north of $100 million.

Jered Weaver – 5 years, $85 million (AAV = $17 million)

Weaver signed the extension in the summer of 2011, which would pay him $17 million annually between his age-29-and-33 seasons.  Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels agreed to the contract following his first four MLB seasons, during which time he compiled ERAs 3.91, 4.33, 3.75 and 3.01, respectively.  He had two seasons with over 200 innings pitched and made the all-star team in 2010 and 2011, the latter important only because they did not officially agree to the deal until after the all-star game that year.

There is no doubt that Weaver was better than Porcello at the time their contracts being signed.  The reasons this deal makes Porcello’s look like a steal is the fact Weaver signed his in 2011 when the market was so much less for a starting pitcher and the age difference.  While the Angels were getting a pitcher through his age-33 season, the Red Sox signed a pitcher through his age-30 season, which is a lifetime in baseball.

You have to consider inflation and the changes in the market, especially with all the television deals and increase in money in baseball.  Times have drastically changed since 2011.  Given the extreme market changes in-between, as well as their relatively comparable pitching performances in the years prior, if Weaver is worth $85 million through his age-33 season in 2011, isn’t Porcello worth over $100 million through his age-30 season in 2015?  For the same reasons, isn’t he also worth more than $3 million annually?

C.J. Wilson: 5 years, $77.5 million (AAV = $15.5 million)

Wilson signed this contract with the Angels in December of 2011.  Previously, Wilson had only been an MLB starter for one season, in 2010.  In that season, he started 33 games, finished with a 3.35 ERA and an ERA+ of 134, but led the American League in walks.  The deal paid him for his age-31-through-35 seasons.

Wilson received $15.5 million annually for five seasons after one season as a starting pitcher in 2011!!  Moreover, in his walk year, he led the American League in walks.  Worst of all though is the fact the deal paid him from age 31 to age 35.  Therefore, Porcello had much more of a track record and was five years younger at the time of his contract signing.  Between that and the market increase over the four years between the two contracts, how much more is Porcello worth than Wilson both in terms of total value and annual value?  $4.5 and $5.0 million, respectively?

Even if you think Wilson was worth more at the time of their signings, which would make very little sense given the fact Porcello had six seasons of nearly 30 starts and was only 26, while Wilson, who was 31, only had one and his one season was about the same as the one Porcello had in his walk year, you would have to admit that it is somewhat surprising that the Red Sox only had to pay $4 million overall and $5 million annually more than what the Angels had to given the incredible market change that took place between the two contracts?

Given inflation, their age and past performance, if Weaver and Wilson are worth nearly $80 million over five years, Porcello is worth at least $120 million over the same period of time, which would be $24 million annually.

Next: Pre-Porcello Contract Summary