Red Sox righty Rick Porcello tried to get the team’s interest in a new contract over the offseason, he tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. While the sides completed some background work, talks never gained traction.
Porcello says he and agent Jim Murray “expressed our willingness to take a discount” in order to expand the relationship. The club was not able to work out a scenario that made much sense from its perspective and ultimately did not put an offer on the table for the veteran starter.
As things stand, the 30-year-old is set to play out the final season of the four-year, $82.5MM deal he inked early in the 2015 season. He had just wrapped up his first spring with the Sox after being acquired earlier that winter for Yoenis Cespedes.
Porcello has to this point had an uneven tenure in Boston. He has been durable, taking all but a handful of his scheduled starts and twice topping 200 innings, but has only once posted a sub-4.00 ERA — a sparkling 3.15 ERA, 22-4 campaign in 2016. His once-excellent groundball rate has drooped, though he’s also generating more strikeouts than he did with the Tigers.
By some measures, last year was actually one of Porcello’s best in Boston. He easily set a new personal high-water mark with 8.9 K/9 and still managed a sturdy 44.1% groundball rate and stingy 2.3 BB/9 walk rate. With a 3.77 SIERA and 3.87 xFIP, Porcello was about as good from a peripheral perspective as ever before.
That said, Porcello’s outcomes have long lagged ERA estimators’ expectations. He has allowed 4.26 earned runs per nine in over three hundred career starts, and no longer has the advantageous mix of experience and youth that he did at the point of his prior extension.
It’s not terribly surprising to learn that the Red Sox weren’t particularly eager to work out a new contract. Having gone on to lock up Chris Sale, the team is committed to four starters for at least the next several years. Facing some budgetary restrictions, the team even reportedly considered dealing Porcello. The veteran hurler would surely be worthy of some kind of future investment, but perhaps not a significant one — in advance of the coming season, at least. It is not known what kind of annual payout the veteran hurler might have been seeking.
Porcello says he remains interested in remaining with the club and would be open to mid-season talks, though the team has signaled it isn’t inclined to do so. That leaves the righty preparing to “leave a positive last impression” in 2019. Even if he reaches the open market, it’s not hard to imagine a reunion, though both sides will perhaps first spend some time exploring alternatives.