Red Sox: Rick Porcello will end the roller coaster ride in 2019

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 07: Rick Porcello #22 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning at Fenway Park, on April 7, 2018, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 07: Rick Porcello #22 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning at Fenway Park, on April 7, 2018, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) /

In just four days the pitcher and catchers for the Red Sox will be reporting to Spring Training. All eyes will be on righty Rick Porcello as the 2019 season begins.

Rick Porcello joined the Red Sox in the winter of 2014 via a trade with the Detroit Tigers. His first season in Boston wasn’t anything to write home about. He posted a 9-15 record with a 4.92 ERA over 172 IP. The ERA is something that won’t change over the years for Porcello as he has hovered between 3.00-4.00 during his time at Fenway.

He would really settle in during the 2016 season and finished with an MLB best 22 wins and capped off the campaign with a CY Young Award. And thus the roller coaster in Boston was in effect. This pattern with Porcello started back when he was in Detroit though. His first year in the league he had a 14-9 record with a 3.96 ERA. He’d follow that up with horrific 2010, ending the year at 10-12 and a 4.92 ERA. Not good.

The rest of his time in Detroit would mimic this pattern as he would have a good year and follow it up by a poor one, so on and so forth. Unfortunately, he didn’t leave that in Detroit when he came to Fenway. Rick’s follow-up to the CY Young year was an abysmal 11-17/4.65 season where he lead the Majors in not only losses but home runs (38).

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I could keep going on about the roller coaster that is Porcello’s career but I don’t want to ruin anyone’s weekend. Now let’s look forward to the upcoming season and why it won’t follow Rick’s usual pattern. This season has a little bit of a different feeling to it. Winning a World Series will do that. That’s my first key to Rick breaking the cycle in 2019, confidence.

He much like David Price and Nathan Eovaldi, Porcello was a key factor to the Red Sox winning in October. Not only his starting performances but his willingness to come out of the pen when necessary to lock in a game. Coming into 2019 with his confidence surely at an all-time high will have to mean good things for the righty.

Another big thing for Porcello going into the 2019 season is the fact that it’s the final under his Red Sox contract and he’ll be a free agent come 2020. So he will be playing for his future unless he and the Red Sox come to terms for him to stay in Boston beforehand. So he’ll want to have as best a year as possible to garner as much power at the negotiating table that he can.

Another factor in his free agency is that fellow Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale will also be a free agent when the season concludes. So not only will Porcello need to perform well to boost his stock naturally but he’ll want to keep pace with his teammate so he doesn’t get shadowed by the southpaw. It may seem superficial but when your livelihood is on the line, you’ll do what it takes to eat the next day.

Porcello is one of the most competitive players I’ve seen in a Red Sox uniform in some time. The way he not only threw but seemed to spit fire during the World Series run was a sight to see. It’s not like he chooses to have these inconsistencies in his career, baseball is a fickle beast like that. But with the rest of the league beefing up their squads to try and knock the Sox off the mountaintop, a good season by Porcello will be key to a repeat.

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The Red Sox pitching staff make their way to Fort Meyers in just a few short days. With a new season just on the horizon and a lot of work that needs to be done, Rick Porcello will be a key factor not only now but for the future. I expect Porcello to come out in as close to his 2016 form as he can, not only wanting to prove the naysayers wrong but to add another ring to his collection.