Red Sox can find inexpensive pitching solution in re-signing Rick Porcello
The Boston Red Sox need to add some pitching this winter while sticking to a strict budget. Could an impending free-agent starter solve both equations?
It’s no secret that the Red Sox need to work some magic this winter and beef up their pitching staff. Exactly how they’re going to go about that, I have no clue. The team wants to slash the payroll to get in the good graces of the CBT and the free-agent market is full of expensive hurlers. So where are they going to get some firepower while keeping the payroll low?
Looking in from the outside it feels like there have to be some trades this winter in order to get what the Red Sox need while not adding to the salary. Free agency is an option but guys like Gerrit Cole and Hyun-Jin Ryu are going to be well beyond the desired allowance, but one man may be the perfect answer to both questions.
Former Boston starter Rick Porcello will be a free agent this winter and based on his poor 2019 campaign I can’t imagine he’s getting a big payday from any team. We know Pretty Ricky very well as for the last handful of years he’s made his home at Fenway Park. Porcello earned just over $21M for his 2019 efforts and based on those same efforts he in no-way has the ability to demand that kind of wage.
I know this may sound ridiculous and to a certain degree, it probably is. I’m thinking big picture in the fact that all parties are familiar with one another and negotiations could be seamless. I also think that to a certain degree Rick may know he isn’t going to get another big payday after his Red Sox tenure.
Currently, the Sox don’t have any prospects ready to step up to fill that vacant fifth spot so going back to Porcello could be the perfect bridge to the next generation. I wouldn’t offer him anything beyond 3-years/$36M, or more desirably, 2-years/$24M with an option for a third year.
Based on Rick’s track record for being an every other year kind of pitcher he’d theoretically have a good year in 2020, poor year in 2021, and would be gone after that. This may be some serious wishful thinking but I just can’t see Boston splashing the cash on a pitcher even though they desperately need one.
In 2019, Porcello tallied a 14-12 record with a 5.52 ERA through 174.1 IP. It surely wasn’t a season to write home about but Rick did have moments where he looked like the guy that won the Cy Young a few short years ago. His biggest negative was the fact that he couldn’t keep the baseball in the ballpark to save his life as he served up 31 dingers, just seven short of his career-high.
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All-season long Rick was pretty honest about his poor performances and would always put the blame on himself. You don’t see that often with athletes, not to the degree that Rick went to. They’ll admit they may have missed a play or just were having an off day, but he took it to an incredibly honest depth. That’s a guy I wouldn’t mind having around the clubhouse still.
Going into this winter with the goal of getting as close to or under the CBT to avoid the massive penalties for 2020 will strictly hinder any real free agent movement for the Red Sox. We’ve all heard the rumors of trading guys like Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr., but I see those moves as highly unlikely.
On the other hand, both JBJ and Mookie will be free agents after the 2020 season. Whoever is in that hot seat in the Boston front office may have an itchy trigger finger when the phone rings and we could see some movement with key players.
I still lean towards everyone being on the roster come spring training. I also thought Dave Dombrowski was still going to have a job though, so that’s where we’re at. Either way, if Boston wants to contend in 2020 they can’t give away the farm so they will have to open the checkbook a little bit.
When it’s all said and done, I think Boston could benefit from re-signing Rick Porcello this winter. This is the best time to strike and get him at a serious bargain while also filling a vacancy with a guy familiar with the organization.
Boston will have to go bargain hunting and what better way to do that than at a store you know all too well. That may be an atrocious analogy but you get my point. Rick Porcello still has gas in the tank and we saw that in 2019 as he did give some solid starts for the Red Sox. This could be the best time to strike for Boston as well as his value will be at a serious low.