Larry Lucchino

Larry Lucchino on D&C: Rick Porcello's contract extension shouldn't come as surprise

Ryan Hannable
April 09, 2015 - 5:34 am
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Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to discuss the open of the 2015 season, and also the recent contract extension of pitcher Rick Porcello. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Porcello inked a four-year extension for $82.5 million on Monday. The right-hander is 26 years old, and a major reason for the organization extending him now was to get a pitcher in his prime years, as opposed to signing a pitcher closer to age 30. "I think it shouldn't surprise you, we've been talking for really for years of the prime time [of] pitchers in their 20s," Lucchino said. "There are a lot of very good reasons for this contract. We'll have to wait and see how it plays out, as there are no guarantees in this game, but Rick has the right stuff in both personality and character and pitching. He has a track record. He's a guy that our pitching evaluators and our health evaluators are very strong opinionated about. He is 26 years old. I would also say you might have to step back a little bit and look at the entire portfolio of contracts that we have. "We don't have many long-term contracts and with this four-year extension we will have Rick for five years and we gave up a very good player to get him in [Yoenis] Cespedes. We will have Rick Porcello around for some time and that will give us a longer term contract that balances out the portfolio of contracts so you just don't have all short-term contracts or too many long-term contracts. We have a pretty healthy balance in our player contract portfolio." As part of announcing his extension on The Players' Tribune website, Porcello had a number of positive things to say of the Red Sox organization, including their Winter Weekend at Foxwoods in January. "I did read that and I did think that was a very thoughtful and positive piece," said Lucchino. "In fact I made sure it was distributed to folks in our front office to get a sense of it because there was a lot about it that was positive -- his general view of how much we care about winning, the steps we take to make sure our players can be at their best. It was one little footnote to it that we enjoyed -- we had our Winter Weekend for the first time this year and it was at that Winter Weekend that Rick got to know some of his teammates and he made specific reference to it as a way that he saw how this organization is set up and the personalities of his teammates and got a sense of both comfort and confidence from that Winter Weekend. For us that Winter Weekend was an experiment in late January to bring some baseball fever to our fans and it was enormously successful. It had a very important team building element to it." Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox. On his thoughts of the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev verdict Wednesday: "It was [a] sensational day. The fact that it came so quickly was all encompassing. It shouldn't have been any surprise. I suppose the drama here will be in the next stage, but I think the idea of focusing on the victims and not on the perpetrator still has a lot of resonance with me." What is a bigger concern at the moment, closer or catcher?: "I would say closer just because having Koji Uehara at his best in '13 was a very powerful weapon for us. When in doubt I tend to lean towards the importance of pitching versus any other position. Now I would agree that losing Christian Vazquez was a very serious blow. We have said all along that is this going to be a fun, interesting, entertaining baseball team and season. Christian's development was a big part of that, but we've also said that so much of how we finish this year will be dependent on two factors that we can't control -- health and randomness or luck. Every team will have some bad luck and some bad health. We just have to rely on our team to have the depth necessary." Did he think Rusney Castillo would open this season in Pawtucket?: "I didn't know. I don't think anyone in our organization knew exactly where he would be because he had been out for awhile, but it doesn't trouble us to have that kind of depth. He is going to have an impact on this team at some point to be sure -- a very impressive spring despite his injury. I didn't know where he was going to be, but I knew he was going to give the kind of strength in the outfield we seem to be enduring."

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