What a difference a year makes. In April 2014, many doubted that Rick Porcello could ever meet the lofty expectations set for him roughly twelve years ago when he was mowing down every high school batter in Central Jersey. Today, Porcello inked an extension with the Red Sox that will net him a guaranteed $82.5MM over four seasons. That’s big bucks any way you slice it, but as Steve Adams noted earlier tonight, Porcello is sacrificing some earning potential by signing a deal at this juncture. On a conference call with reporters, I asked the right-hander if he was hesitant to sign a deal just months away from being able to hit the open market at the age of 27.
“I mean obviously I knew the opportunity that was ahead of me in entering free agency, but when I first got to camp and I saw the way the team was run from the ownership to Ben [Cherington] to the coaching staff and the players that were there, I saw that it was run very well from top to bottom,” Porcello said. “The devotion to win was here and it was something that I wanted to be a part of. It wasn’t a very difficult decision for me.”
Porcello went on to explain that he wasn’t thinking about signing an extension upon his arrival to Boston but he was board once that possibility presented itself. As for the Red Sox, Cherington said that he was impressed with Porcello from the get-go. One might think that a deal of this magnitude was hammered out over months of late nights at the office and bad takeout, but the GM explained that the deal actually came together rather quickly. Cherington had “informal” conversations with agent Jim Murray towards the end of Spring Training and negotiations actually didn’t pick up until the last few days.
“When we made the trade we had interest in at least having a conversation about [an extension], but as Rick alluded to, we respected that he was new to the Red Sox and we wanted to give him an opportunity to get to know us a little more and vice versa,” Cherington said. “It gave us a chance to get to know him too…Aside from the pitcher that he is, which we obviously like, getting to know Rick more over the winter and spring we came to learn that he just has a lot of qualities that we really admire and we felt that he was type of guy that we wanted here and we see him as a very important part of our team going forward for many years.”
There’s already plenty of discussion about the deal, with some believing that Porcello wisely locked in after a career year and others feeling that the Red Sox ace should have tried to build off of his 2014 effort and land an even bigger deal next winter. Porcello, for his part, could do without any of the attention.
“If we could have signed it without announcing it, that would have been fine with me. Today was about our season opener and the Red Sox winning.”