To get what you want, or to keep what you have, sometimes you need to overpay.
That's what the Red Sox did in order to prevent 26-year-old Rick Porcello from leaving town after just one season.
Before Porcello could even throw a regular-season pitch with the Red Sox, he signed a four-year, $82.5 million extension. Add that to the one-year, $12.5 million deal he received this winter, let’s just call the entire thing a five-year, $95 million deal - which comes out to $19 million per season.
Let’s also call it what it is. It’s the Red Sox overpaying here. I was saying that before his sixth-inning slider to Jeff Francoeur on Wednesday night that led to a three-run home run and an eventual Phillies win.
But to be fair, six innings of three-run ball is sort of what I expect from Porcello, more often than not. This is his seventh MLB season as a starting pitcher. His career ERA is 4.30 while averaging 26 starts per year in each of his first six seasons. And he’s 0-2 with a 4.41 ERA in eight postseason appearances (two starts) on some pretty good Tigers teams.
So while he picked up a loss in his Red Sox debut, his performance was about what I expected to see. Decent movement on a 90-mph sinking fastball, a nice little curveball at 76, and a couple mistakes that you hope the other team doesn’t make him pay for.
Well, Francoeur made Porcello pay for a hanging slider on Wednesday night. But all of that doesn’t mean the Red Sox made a mistake in giving Porcello such a large contract.
Did they overpay him? Yes. But giving too much money to a 26-year-old pitcher who’s still improving, that’s fine - as long as the years make sense. And for the Red Sox, seeing the deal end while Porcello is 30-years-old is the perfect length.
When it comes to the Red Sox, in a league with no salary cap, you’re never going to hear me complain about them spending money. As long as it doesn’t prevent them from making other moves to improve the team down the road. And I don’t envision that happening.
Now, had they given him this deal while he’s 29-30 years old, instead of paying him in his prime age of 26-30, that’s a different story. But let’s deal with the facts here. Porcello has plenty of upside. And $19 million a year over the next five years to a 26-year-old isn’t going to force John Henry to cut jobs on Yawkey Way.
Sometimes you need to overpay to get what you want. I’m just glad they chose to overpay Porcello while he’s in his prime.
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