Mets free agent retrospective: Rick Porcello has a surprising swan song season

New York Mets v Washington Nationals - Game Two
New York Mets v Washington Nationals - Game Two / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

The New York Mets came to an agreement with free agent pitcher Rick Porcello on December 12, 2019. It was officially announced four days later on December 16, 2019.

The world was a much different place on this day. COVID meant nothing to the world. Social distancing was reserved for only the most people-fearing among us. Porcello was viewed as a rebound candidate worth of a one-year deal worth $10 million.

Porcello raked in a lot of money during his years with the Boston Red Sox. He peaked in 2016 with a Cy Young victory. He followed it up with a league-leading 17 losses, 236 hits, and 38 home runs allowed. It wasn’t even his worst year with the Red Sox or in his career. He would save that for the shortened 2020 season with the Mets.

Remembering Rick Porcello’s one bad season with the Mets in 2020

Everything about the 2020 season was weird. The whole year itself seems like it took place a lot longer ago. Streaming services weren’t even producing new content to entertain us. So when baseball returned in the middle of the summer, we were all excited. Could the Mets with a rotation featuring Porcello succeed?

The 2020 Mets definitely didn’t benefit from the weirdness of a late start. Porcello was one of the players who stayed healthy yet struggled the most. In 12 starts for the Mets, Porcello was 1-7 with a 5.64 ERA. It was the highest of his 12 MLB seasons, topping the 5.52 he had one year prior.

Batters knocked Porcello around well as they did many times in the past. It began early with the Atlanta Braves scoring 7 runs (6 earned) in his first start of the season. Porcello lasted just two frames in this debut.

Hitters would go on to slash .303/.349/.434 against him in 2020. Porcello did allow only 5 home runs and had a decent walk/strikeout ratio. It all helped give him a satisfying 3.33 FIP which is absolutely misleading. He wasn’t the victim of bad luck. Porcello was just giving up too many hits.

The lone win of the season from Porcello came on August 5 when he made his third start for the Mets. A 3-1 victory in Washington against the Nationals pushed him to 1-1 on the year with 6.92 ERA.

Things were up and down for Porcello for the rest of the year culminating in one final start, again in Washington. On September 26, Porcello lasted only 3 innings for the Mets. Washington had 8 hits and tagged him for 5 runs. Only 3 were earned.

This was Porcello’s last MLB start. Now two full years removed, his one year with the Mets turned out to be an unexpected swan song.

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