Before the first Spring Training pitch was even thrown, Red Sox manager John Farrell had made up his mind: Rick Porcello was going to be in his starting rotation this upcoming season.
Porcello, 27, went 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA last season in 28 starts. A couple of strong starts late in the season helped save his season from true disaster. But if yesterday were any indication, then the Red Sox might want to be worried.
How important are Spring Training numbers? Not very. But Porcello’s eight earned runs in three innings are really tough to overlook.
Oddly enough, control wasn’t even a problem for Porcello. He didn’t walk anyone. He was just hit and hit hard.
Sinkerballers tend to have trouble in Spring Training. But eight runs in three inning is not really what the Red Sox are looking for. If it were, Justin Masterson would still be in the rotation.
Not to mention the Red Sox still have plenty of pitching depth and talent on the mound.
The way it looks right now, Brian Johnson, Henry Owens and Roenis Elias would be slated to open the season up in the minors. And Steven Wright, another starting pitching option, would open the season up in the bullpen.
To add salt to the wound, the Red Sox traded a bundle of players for Porcello headed into the 2015 season including outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who ended up being an MVP candidate as he clubbed 35 home runs for the Detroit Tigers and New York Mets.
Some Red Sox fans might not have liked Porcello from the beginning. After all, he beat up Kevin Youkilis.
In seven big league seasons, Porcello owns a 4.39 ERA. Even though he held his own at a young age at the top level, it is tough to imagine him living up to his $20+ million a year contract because he pitches to contact.