Did Red Sox jump the gun on extending Brayan Bello as struggles continue to mount?

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox / Jaiden Tripi/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox front office made its commitment to its young homegrown players clear after it extended Brayan Bello in early March.

The 25-year-old hurler signed a six-year, $55 million extension, Boston's first of the year. Bello's recent struggles on the mound have led some fans to question if the deal was premature.

Bello carries the highest ERA among Boston's starters, and he has for much of the season, but his 5.55 metric spiked in his last seven stars. He's pitched to a 7.20 ERA in his last seven outings, and he's walked batters at a much higher clip than he did to begin the 2024 slate. He walked nine batters in his first seven starts and 20 in the following seven appearances.

Bello opened his third Red Sox season with high expectations. He was given Boston's Opening Day start fresh off his contract extension, and many considered him the sort-of "ace" of its staff. But the Sox's pitchers posted outstanding early starts, and Tanner Houck has secured the title of ace for himself as Bello has struggled with command of his pitches and emotions.

Bello's command issues have been well-documented, but his mentor Pedro Martínez, to whom he's been compared, thinks he can work through it. Martínez also cited Bello's "guts" as a benefit to his pitching, and he's used his feelings to his advantage before, but Bello's emotions tend to get the best of him in stressful situations.

His June 25 outing against the Blue Jays showed it well. Boston's defense committed multiple miscues in the third inning, and Bello lost all composure. He allowed seven runs over 2.1 frames, his shortest outing of the year.

Brayan Bello's rough outings have Red Sox fans asking questions about his contract

Emotional control can be learned. Bello is still on the early side of his career and he has time to grow as a player and mature as a person. But his command needs to improve first — he walked two batters to put himself in a rough situation before the Red Sox's defensive breakdown against the Jays.

Boston's extension of Bello may have been premature — especially now that it's clear the front office should've pursued Houck instead — but it also may be too early to tell. Multiple Red Sox players have posted impressive turnarounds from last season, Houck, Jarren Duran and Connor Wong are among them.

Bello's contract is team-friendly and could become more than worth it for the Red Sox, but it'll take mental and physical work from him and his coaching staff.

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