The Boston Red Sox rotation is set and signed with the exception of Rick Porcello. The Red Sox just may be done with high profile signings and that means Porcello.
It is never over until it is over, but it may be over for re-signing players for the Red Sox. As reported in the Boston Herald president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski the recent high profile binge of signing Chris Sale and Xander Bogaerts has now placed any further activity on hold. BSI’s Brendan Mizgala also had an extensive article of Dombrowski’s latest missive on contracts to further substantiate Dombrowski’s intent. Just where does that leave Rick Porcello?
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Porcello reportedly was actively seeking an extension to stay in Boston and even proposed a “hometown discount” quoted in an interview with reporter Rob Bradford via Justin Leger. Apparently, the Red Sox have not reciprocated to Porcello’s efforts and Dombrowski’s and management’s reluctance to continue securing potential free agents place Porcello on the endangered species list for Boston free agents.
"“Myself and my agent [Jim Murray] — my agent was handling it — he approached them and expressed my desire to continue to want to play here,” Porcello told Bradford. “We expressed our willingness to take a discount to make that work. Conceptionally there were talks about it but as the spring went on economically they didn’t feel like it was going to fit. It pretty much kind of fizzled out and there were really no further talks beyond that. That’s pretty much it.” – Rick Porcello as told to Rob Bradford"
I really like the gritty Porcello and wrote about the possibility of his remaining in Boston. A noted inning eater and consistent with near 200 innings pitched, 30+ starts, and a respectable earned run average, make Porcello a solid middle rotation starter. Porcello certainly should get props from the locals for formally expressing his desire to stay with the team.
The Red Sox view is certainly understandable with two pitchers – David Price and Sale having a payroll hit that will exceed the entire payroll of Tampa. And it doesn’t just stop with the aforementioned Price and Sale. The Red Sox lineup is littered with pricey contracts and costs are concerns especially with the specter of a Mookie Betts contract looming in the future.
The Red Sox passed on Craig Kimbrel and have rolled the closer dice with the frugal option of Matt Barnes and or Ryan Brasier. Time will be the judge if that was a judicious move. Back to Porcello. Just what is the game plan? The frugal option is just limited to two possibilities on the roster. Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright awaiting his get out of jail card.
Rodriguez in 2018 (13-5, 3.82) was statistically equal to Porcello, but with E-Rod we have been fully immersed in his yearly ability to go on the named changed injured list. Last season it was 23 starts and the reliability factor weighs heavily on Rodriguez as a replacement.
Speaking of the reliability factor you have Wright who has made numerous efforts either via his own volition or via bonehead managerial moves to place his career in cold storage. Assumptions are an enjoyable pastime so my assumption is at mid-season Wright returns and shows the same talent level he had in September of 2018 or when he was an All-Star. Wright would be able to slip into the rotation, give it depth, and make Porcello’s Boston stay a pleasant memory. But assumptions are not reality.
The Red Sox also have the minor league option available, but that is as thin as uncooked spaghetti. Darwinzon Hernandez is the next great rotation option for the promised land in Boston. The rest sitting down on the farm is a long – very long – way away from Boston and I am not talking distance. I’ll pass on the minor league option unless lefty Hernandez suddenly morphs into Sale.
Is Porcello done? Back to that never say never, but if I was laying out odds I’d place my chips on the “See Ya” part of the wheel. Wherever Porcello lands he will be paid well if he pumps out the usual numbers in 2019. Then comes the lesser lights and the Red Sox have those with Brock Holt, Eduardo Nunez, Steve Pearce, Mitch Moreland, and whoever else I missed.
One last item of note is potentially trading Porcello during the season. The Red Sox would have to be comfortable with a replacement or be in a position where the standings make it viable. That is a long shot, but one item of offseason interest is a qualifying offer. If the Red Sox offer one Porcello might just take it.