Rick Porcello

Red Sox, Rick Porcello agree not to talk contract during season

Rob Bradford
April 05, 2015 - 5:26 pm

PHILADELPHIA -- While the announcement that Jon Lester and the Red Sox would not be negotiating a contract during the 2014 season was presented in a fairly formal fashion a year ago, the same can't be said regarding similar news involving Rick Porcello and his new team. Porcello confirmed to WEEI.com that he has told the Red Sox he prefers not to talk contract during the upcoming regular season. A team source confirmed that the organization has agreed that negotiations should wait until season's end. "I don'€™t want any distractions when we start the season," the pitcher said. "I just want to focus on pitching." While Porcello preferred not to comment on if contract talks had been ongoing throughout spring training, a major league source did confirm there had been some discussions throughout March. While it isn't known if an offer was made by the club, the source did confirm that recent dialogue led to a better understanding of where each side stood. Porcello will be eligible for free agency following the 2015 season, having agreed to one-year, $12.5 million deal with the Red Sox this past offseason (in what would have been his final year of arbitration eligibility). The righty will be only 27 years old when the first year of his new contract begins, offering an interesting option for teams ready to invest in what figures to be a pitching-rich free agent market. Wei-Yen Chen, Johnny Cueto, David Price, Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmerman, Jeff Samardzija, Mat Latos, Mike Leake and possibly Zack Greinke (he can opt-out of his final three seasons) are all pitchers slated to become free agents after the '15 season. A quick poll of a few baseball executives and agents suggests if Porcello repeats his 2014 season (15-13, 3.43 ERA, 204.2 innings) the righty might be in line for a deal worth 5-6 years at about $18 million per season. Despite the intrigue that surround Porcello's future, the pitcher's focus has continues to remain unwavering. "Whether it'€™s been the past couple of years, where trade talks have surrounded me in Detroit, or coming into the final season of a contract, at this point I think I have a better handle of how to just block that stuff out and focus on the things in front of me, things that I can control," he said. "That'€™s how I'€™ve felt all spring. Just coming in and getting my work done. I don'€™t feel like there is any added pressure. The pressure that I feel is to win for my teammates and for this organization. That'€™s what I'€™m focused on, putting my best foot forward here and doing what I need to do to prepare for a championship caliber season with everybody else in this clubhouse." Porcello has impressed his new team to date, both with his spring training performance and clubhouse presence. He finished his Grapefruit League schedule with a 2.57 ERA over four official outings, striking out 11 and walking three in 14 innings. The righty is scheduled to pitch in the Red Sox' second game of the season, Wednesday against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. "There are still some things I want to do better, especially when I get runners on base, slowing myself down and slowing the game down a little better than I have," he said. "That'€™s something I'€™m constantly reminding myself. Other than that I feel good, ready to start."