BOSTON — Rick Porcello already found one benefit to joining the Red Sox.
“I’m definitely happy that I don’t have to worry about balls sailing over my head off (David) Ortiz’s bat, that’s for sure,” Porcello said Friday at Fenway Park.
The right-hander is excited about far more than no longer having to face one of baseball’s most feared sluggers, though. Porcello has been the subject of trade rumors several times over the last couple of years — in some ways preparing him for last week’s deal — yet something about Boston always appealed to him.
“I couldn’t ask for a better team to get traded to,” said Porcello, who spent his first six seasons with the Detroit Tigers before being traded to the Red Sox. “If any one of those (trade rumors) was going to happen, this is the one I’d want to happen. I mean that sincerely. I’m not just saying that.”
Porcello has played on some talented Tigers teams since breaking into the majors as a 20-year-old in 2009. Detroit enters 2015 having won four straight American League Central titles. They’ve been to two American League Championship Series and one World Series in that span.
All the while, Porcello, whose family owns property in Vermont, has admired the Red Sox from afar. He’s now asked to become a key cog in a Boston rotation that’s comprised of Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, Wade Miley and Justin Masterson yet deprived of Jon Lester.
“I think you have to have five aces,” Porcello said of emerging as a leader on Boston’s newly constructed staff. “I think each one of us has to take pride in our job and go out there and perform to the best of our capabilities. I’m looking forward to that opportunity — going out there and helping us and giving us a chance to win every fifth day.”
So what is it about Boston, specifically, that appeals to Porcello? According to the pitcher, it starts with the organization’s commitment to fielding a competitive squad every year.
“(I’m) thrilled. I couldn’t have asked for a better organization to get traded to,” Porcello said. “Winning tradition here and everything that they’re trying to do going forward, I’m extremely excited. So it’s a great opportunity, and I look forward to it.”
Porcello, who turns 26 next week, is slated to become a free agent after the 2015 season. The pitcher said Friday he’s currently focused on fitting in and getting to know his new teammates, but perhaps being exposed to a few more Boston benefits eventually will open the door for a potential contract extension.
The relationship is off to a good start.
Thumbnail photo via Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports Images