Mets Free Agent Candidate: Starting Pitcher Rick Porcello
By Tim Boyle
This winter, the New York Mets may be in the market for a starting pitcher. Rick Porcello is available and a name for the Metropolitans to consider.
The New York Mets aren’t officially in need of a starting pitcher just yet. Depending on what happens with Zack Wheeler will go a long way in determining if they dip their hands into the free agent market for a starter or focus in other areas. If Wheeler walks, 2016 American League Cy Young winner Rick Porcello is someone to consider.
Certainly not an ace, Porcello has done some things well in his career. Since debuting in 2009 with the Detroit Tigers he has never appeared in fewer than 27 games. In those 11 seasons, he has won 10 games or more each season but his first in Boston.
Porcello’s resume hit a bit of a snag in 2019 when he posted a career-worst 5.52 ERA. After a year in which he went 17-7 and gave the eventual World Series winning Red Sox a 4.28 ERA in the regular season, it was a disappointing final season in Beantown.
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It’s hard to believe Porcello will not turn 31 until this December. The man who was once traded from the Tigers to the Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes has enjoyed plenty of highs in his decade-plus in Major League Baseball. He has also experienced his share of lows.
For the Mets, they would get a guy who needs to prove himself. In any other capacity, I’m not so sure Porcello gets the deal he may desire.
Having already made over $118 million in his career, the Morristown native may be a little more willing to land somewhere on a one-year “prove it” deal. Someone, in this case the Mets, could sweeten it with a team option for 2021.
In the recent part of Porcello’s career, he has been an every-other-year pitcher. He had good years in 2014, 2016, and 2018 with much poorer seasons in between. A year after leading the league with 22 wins in 2016, he led the league with 17 losses in 2017.
I always view the Mets as a destination team for pitchers looking to improve upon their personal statistics. Citi Field isn’t exactly Yellowstone, but it can help a talented pitcher curve numbers his way.
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Porcello has done it before. As a fourth or fifth starter, he’s not such a bad option. The Mets shouldn’t reach for him, though. If his salary demands ignore how badly he performed last season, it’s time to move on fast.