But all things considered, Porcello was a logical extension candidate, so maybe we shouldn’t be too shocked by the four-year deal reportedly worth $82.5 million.
“I think it shouldn’t surprise you. We’ve been talking for really for years of the prime time (of) pitchers in their 20s,” Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino said Thursday on WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan” of Porcello’s new deal. “There are a lot of very good reasons for this contract. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out, as there are no guarantees in this game. But Rick has the right stuff in both personality and character and pitching.
“He has a track record. He’s a guy that our pitching evaluators and our health evaluators are very strong opinionated about. He is 26 years old. I would also say you might have to step back a little bit and look at the entire portfolio of contracts that we have.”
The Red Sox locked up Porcello before he threw a single regular-season pitch for Boston. It’s not unprecedented for teams to consider extensions shortly after acquiring players, but the Red Sox fell short in their effort to re-sign Jon Lester, who had been a franchise cornerstone. It was reasonable to wonder whether they’d take a wait-and-see approach with Porcello before making a long-term commitment.
Porcello and the Red Sox fell in love with each other in spring training, though. The right-hander gained a deep appreciation for how the organization operates, and the Red Sox were blown away by Porcello’s work ethic, preparation and drive.
The Red Sox obviously took a risk by signing Porcello to a contract that will pay him $20 million annually in 2016 and 2017 and $21 million annually in 2018 and 2019. But it was a calculated risk that Boston felt was worth taking, especially since the free agent-to-be might have netted a more lucrative contract on the open market next winter if he put together a good first season with the Red Sox.
“We don’t have many long-term contracts, and with this four-year extension, we will have Rick for five years, and we gave up a very good player to get him in (Yoenis) Cespedes,” Lucchino said. “We will have Rick Porcello around for some time and that will give us a longer-term contract that balances out the portfolio of contracts, so you just don’t have all short-term contracts or too many long-term contracts.
“We have a pretty healthy balance in our player contract portfolio.”
Porcello’s contract extension seemingly came out of left field, in large because it was announced shortly after the Red Sox’s Opening Day win over the Philadelphia Phillies. But both sides did their homework, and there’s a collective confidence that things will work out for everyone involved.
Thumbnail photo via Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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