Tom Verducci (right) says the Red Sox got two "All-Star" quality pitchers in Wade Miley and Rick Porcello. (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Tom Verducci on D&C: Wade Miley, Rick Porcello 'can pitch at All-Star levels'

Ryan Hannable
December 11, 2014 - 8:01 am
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Sports Illustrated baseball writer and FOX color commentator Tom Verducci joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to recap baseball's Winter Meetings and also was able to give his thoughts on the Red Sox adding pitchers Rick Porcello and Wade Miley. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Verducci was on the show right as the Porcello trade broke, so he was able to give instant analysis of both the deals, which he was in favor of given the durability of both Porcello and Miley. Miley was acquired for Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, while Porcello was acquired for Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson and minor league pitcher Gabe Speier. "I think, you guys know all the names in their farm system the great arms they do have sitting there, you really do need protection for them so they don't have to throw so many innings and you have two guys now I think are both really good athletes, really don't have red flags in their deliveries or stuff, profile well to remain durable," Verducci said. "That is a very valuable thing. To me that's always been an underrated skill in the game -- is durability. Can you do it year-after-year? And these guys can. They have protection and they are pretty good pitchers too. It's not like they just got guys who are so called innings eaters -- the Edwin Jackson's of the world -- they got two really good pitchers who can pitch at All-Star levels." Added Verducci on Porcello: "Makes sense to me. Teams like flexibility, the fact that both of these guys are in the last year before free agency, not a bad thing for either team. I really like Ricky Porcello. He's a lot younger than you think. I think he is 26, 27 years old. The way he has incorporated his curve ball the last few years I think has brought him to another level. "A ground ball pitcher, make sure you have a good defensive infield behind you because he suffered for that in Detroit for most of those years when they didn't have a lot of range behind him. Total gamer. You guys remember the fight at Fenway a few years ago. Pitched in a big game when he was 20 years old, Game 163. That is exactly the kind of move I would do if I was the Red Sox -- flip Cespedes for a year of Ricky Porcello." Verducci also discussed Jon Lester signing with the Cubs for a reported six years (plus a vesting option for a seventh). He said Lester does have some intangibles off the field that can make the whole Cubs rotation better, but also notes the game has changed with more reliance on bullpens. "You have to love Jonny Lester. Lets face it, he's been durable. I do think he's the kind of guy that can make other pitchers on your staff better, he's that kind of influential guy in terms of work ethic and focus, all those things," said Verducci. "I get it. There is a little bit of a halo effect with Jon Lester as well. Take a look around the game too. The game as really changed a lot. I wrote this earlier in the offseason, don't look at starting pitching the way we did for 100 years. In other words, you always started out well, how many aces do they have, I mean real good starting pitchers does a team have? "The Pittsburgh Pirates have made the playoffs two years in a row without having anybody pitch 200 innings and you can do that in todays game because the game is so dependent now on bullpens. It's more and more guys who throw harder, who pitch to fewer and fewer batters at a time, they just keep flipping guys into a game. You don't need guys to throw 230 innings. If guys are out there like Lester or [James] Shields it's great to see those guys, but I don't think it is imperative that you have to have the prototypical ace. In a perfect world you'd love to have that guy, especially when he is homegrown in  his 20's. You know what, the Red Sox had those years with Jon Lester. You don't have to have those years before 31-36."