Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling on D&C: Rick Porcello extension stresses 'Red Sox are all about length of contract'

April 08, 2015 - 6:09 am
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ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Wednesday to talk about Rick Porcello'€™s four year, $82.5 million contract extension, pitching and the importance of the health in the lineup. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Porcello is scheduled to make his first start of the season on Wednesday night, but the Red Sox were kind enough to give him a four-year extension on Monday. For a player like Porcello, who is regarded as a ground ball pitcher, the defense behind him becomes a huge part of his success or failure. Though that can create some uncertainty about his performance going forward, Schilling said teams have been making moves to adjust to this. "Defensively you have to catch the balls," Schilling said. "The challenge for me is there's a lot of coin flip to a guy that relies on defense to win. You can go out there and throw great and give up 15 hits in a game as a ground ball guy if the balls aren't hit at people, but nowadays with the amount of advanced scouting and defensive positioning, teams are turning that into a science." While $20 million a year is no joke as a contract, Schilling noted that, although Porcello might garner relatively less on the market, the Red Sox are doling out extra to keep that contract on the shorter side. "I think it's another move that just reinforces the Red Sox are all about length of contract," he said. "I think that the four years was the reason it was [$]20 [million]. He goes on the market, I think he ends up looking at five, six, seven [years] for 16, 17, 18 somewhere in there, but you pay to short that money." Porcello took to The Players' Tribune to explain his reason for staying with the Red Sox shortly after he signed his extension, and in his piece he talked about the difference he sees in Boston's organization compared to others. "I noticed early on that they put a tremendous amount of thought and attention into doing everything the right way -- meticulously detailed scouting reports, a dedicated and extremely knowledgeable training staff, state of the art facilities -- even the food is prepared nutritionally sound in order to make us better," Porcello wrote. "The primary focus is winning and it was very evident from day one." For Schilling, he agreed that the way the Red Sox operate is different and that their way of life appeals to players. "I know it sounds trivial to some, but when you go and see, Rick has known the Tigers system and Tiger organization and that's it," Schilling said. "And you get an idea every now and then about other teams and the way things are, but when you get exposed to the way another team handles the players' families, or the way another team travels and how they take care of guys on the road or in the offseason and their nutrition and the 'little things' when you're making $20 million a year, those are huge. They're not little things to players, they're kind of the human difference in everyday life between organizations, and that's a combination of the major reasons he signed." The Sox pitching staff put together an admirable outing on Monday afternoon with three hurlers contributing to a shutout. There's not a lot to complain about in a campaign like that, whether it be on the starting or relieving side of the ball, and Schilling said at this point the biggest focus should just be health. "Everybody leaves spring training with an 11-man plan or 12-man plan," he said. "These five guys are going to start, and here's the way my five, six, seven relievers are going to fall on the bullpen, and a lot of times it just doesn't work out the way you want it to. You have your closer, you have your bridge to the closer and the other guys, they'll sort themselves out, but for me, the concern for these two groups is health." Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox. On reaction to his criticism of Clay Buchholz: "The annoying and the frustrating thing is how things take off and become something they never were. People were talking about the fact that I was actively rooting against him to do well, which confuses me. I was asked my opinion -- which you guys know I'm usually not real shy about sharing. It's just something that I look at. ... This guy's physically as gifted as anybody I've ever played with. He's got more stuff, more physical talent than I ever had. ... The analogy I try to use is, if a guy goes out and hits .350, and the next year he hits .112, and then he goes out and hits .348, and then he hits .202, that doesn't fit. I always wondered how you can let that happen." On Buchholz taking longer on the mound when he lets people on: "The challenge is that defensively, you become worse. Tempo is obviously a big thing for a starting pitcher, for any pitcher really, and when you see that consistent time, that 10, 12, 13 seconds, you have a guy that understands rhythm and tempo, you remember Josh [Beckett] was slow and Daisuke [Matsuzaka] was slow, but when guys got on, they were archaic. It was hard, and it's twice as hard on your defense and the guys playing behind you, it's a problem, especially when it gets hot or it's really, really cold because you're leaving your guys on the field and no one can get into a rhythm, no one can get into a tempo and it's something that great pitchers fix." On whether the Red Sox should go after an ace at the deadline or in the offseason: "Well it's the second game of the season and as usual everybody overreacts both ways after the first game. I mean, if you look at the way everybody's talking, the '27 Yankees were born Monday in Philly. I wait, I want to see how everything shakes out, and I think we talked about it earlier this year, you got out of spring training relatively healthy, when you get to the deadline, who's in last place? [Johnny] Cueto's availability or [Cole] Hamels' availability -- well, Hamels I don't think it going to change, but there could be other guys on the market that do become available, and so my goal right now if I'm them is to figure out, and I'm sure they have in an idea, how they're going to handle their bullpen right now, keeping their starters pretty consistent on their days and healthy and keeping your fingers crossed that your lineup stays pretty consistent." On Monday answering Schilling's most important question of the season: "One game can answer questions. The Red Sox Opening Day told me the one thing I was really concerned about, which is [Dustin Pedroia]'s healthy. He's not going to hit 320-some homers, although I'm sure he would tell you differently, but he's healthy and that question was answered Opening Day, the one thing I wanted to know about them." On the Sox' philosophy of not extending pitchers who are over 30 years old: "To me it's all about the player. There's just so much difference in between guys, and you get to know guys. I think the thing that Theo [Epstein] liked about my situation was my peripheral numbers were still, I was still striking out a lot of guys per nine, my strikeout-to-walk ratio was pretty good and things like that, and there was some added incentive. They hadn't won in a couple of years, which probably didn't hurt my situation either."

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