Jamie Gatlin | September 29th, 2019
With the regular season entering its last day, the Boston Red Sox are about to embark on an offseason full of changes. As they look to return to the postseason in 2020, some difficult goodbyes with impending free agents including Rick Porcello could be on the horizon. Although Porcello has struggled immensely this year, in his last two starts he was in vintage form. With Porcello’s future uncertain, his five-year run in Boston may soon be coming to an end.
In 32 starts this season Porcello went 14-12 with a career-worst ERA of 5.52. The veteran righty allowed 31 home runs which was the second-highest total of his career. Although Porcello had a disappointing season, he was able to make more than 30 starts for the fourth consecutive year. On a staff that was riddled by injuries, the New Jersey native was a constant presence.
Although 2019 was full of disappointment, Porcello did a lot of good in Boston over the past few years. He won the AL Cy Young in 2016 and was a key part of the 2018 championship team. The same year Porcello won the Cy Young he was named the AL comeback player of the year. Since arriving in Boston, the Red Sox have gone 98-69 in his starts with Porcello recording a 4.45 ERA.
Before Porcello arrived in Boston, he had played second fiddle behind the likes of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Although his numbers may not be Hall of Fame worthy like his former mentors, Porcello’s importance has grown. His durability which has been his calling card was highlighted earlier this season when he reached the 2,000 innings mark for his career. Despite his inconsistencies, Porcello has been an arm the Red Sox could rely on.
Over the years Porcello has been the perfect fit in a Red Sox uniform. Even though he is one of the teams highest-paid players, he is his own harshest critic. When he struggles, his teammates have been impressed with his work behind the scenes to correct his mistakes. He carries himself like someone who could legitimately play baseball for free which has made Porcello a fan favorite.
With the regular season, now in the books, Porcello is only weeks away from his first experience with free agency. Despite his down season, the former top prospect could still be a good fit at the back end of a team’s rotation. In an era when bullpen usage is up, his ability to eat innings will be a valued commodity. The former first-round pick is still only 30 years old meaning a bounce-back year is very likely.
Although Porcello’s return is still possible, Red Sox management has made it known that they will significantly cut payroll this offseason. That will only make resigning the former CY Young award winner harder. Regardless of what Porcellos decides, he has already formed an impactful and unforgettable legacy.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images