Rick Porcello hasn’t pitched in a game for the Boston Red Sox yet. He’ll do that on Wednesday.
But even without doing so, the Red Sox and Porcello have agreed on a four-year, $82.5 million extension. The deal will keep Porcello in Boston through the 2019 season. Porcello would have been a free agent after this season.
He gets a $500,000 signing bonus, salaries of $20 million in 2016 and 2017, and salaries of $21 million in 2018 and 2019.
Porcello explained his decision in an article on The Players Tribune.
Here’s the full release from the Red Sox:
BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox today signed right-handed pitcher Rick Porcello to a four-year contract extension through the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington made the announcement.
Porcello is scheduled to make his Red Sox debut on Wednesday, starting against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Boston’s second game of the 2015 season. The 26-year-old was acquired from the Detroit Tigers on December 11, 2014 in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Céspedes, right-handed pitcher Alex Wilson, and minor league left-handed pitcher Gabe Speier.
In 32 appearances for the Tigers last season, including 31 starts, Porcello went 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 204.2 innings. Along with leading the American League with three shutouts, he also placed among AL leaders with career bests in wins (T-8th), ERA (17th), innings (13th), and road ERA (6th, 2.66). He ranked second in the majors with 30 opponent ground into double plays, and had the eighth-highest ground ball-to-fly ball ratio in the AL.
The native of Morristown, NJ issued a career-low 1.8 walks per nine innings in 2014, the eighth-best mark in the AL and his third season among the league’s Top 10 in that category. His 2.21 career walks per nine innings ratio ranks as the fifth-lowest among active big leaguers with at least 1,000 innings pitched, trailing only Dan Haren (1.86), Cliff Lee (1.94), Mark Buehrle (2.05), and Ricky Nolasco (2.10).
Porcello is the only qualifying major leaguer with both a walks-per-nine-innings rate under 3.0 and a ground ball rate of at least 50% in each of the last six seasons (2009-14).
Signed by the Tigers as the 27th selection in the first round of the 2007 June Draft, Porcello has made at least 27 starts and has pitched at least 162.2 innings in all six big league seasons since his 2009 debut, going 76-63 with a 4.30 ERA (513 ER/1,073.1 IP). He placed third among AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2009, when at 20 years old he won 14 games and posted a 3.96 ERA as the youngest player in the AL.
Porcello is just the third pitcher in modern major league history (since 1900) to record at least 10 wins in each of his first six campaigns, all before turning 26 years old. The others are Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley and Bert Blyleven. No other modern major league pitcher has made more than 25 starts in each of his first six big league seasons, all before turning 26.