The Mets have signed veteran right-hander Rick Porcello to a one-year, $10 million contract, according to reports from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Eno Sarris and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman:
Free-agent right-hander Rick Porcello in agreement with #Mets on a one-year contract, pending a physical, sources tell The Athletic. On it: @enosarris.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 12, 2019
Porcello gets $10M, 1-year deal with Mets. Resets for free agency a year from now.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 12, 2019
While their interest in him had been reported several weeks ago, the Mets and Porcello aren’t necessarily an obvious match for each other at this point. After they signed Michael Wacha to an incentive-laden deal on Wednesday, the Mets already had five starters: Wacha, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Steven Matz. Wacha and Matz were both moved to the bullpen at points last year due to poor performance, and deGrom is the only one of those five pitchers who could not be fairly described as “injury-prone.” Thus, it does make some sense for New York to go into spring training with six potential starters and just see how things shake out. However, Rosenthal reported Thursday that the Mets could consider moving one of their returning starters in a deal that would unload the salary of a high-priced veteran like Yoenis Cespedes or Jed Lowrie. That type of move would seem like a clear step backward for GM Brodie Van Wagenen, who has emphasized trying to win now since taking over last offseason. After building up some pretty impressive rotation depth over the last year — the group currently includes three ace-caliber starters — moving a starter just to lower payroll (particularly for a team that is valued by Forbes at $2.3 billion) would basically destroy all that progress.
Porcello, who will turn 31 later this month, has been rather inconsistent over an 11-year career split between the Tigers and Red Sox, posting a 4.36 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP over 2,037.1 innings. He did have an unbelievable career year in 2016, winning the AL Cy Young after posting a 3.15 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP and leading the majors with 22 wins over 33 starts (in what could be considered a testament to the usefulness of that statistic, he led the majors with 17 losses the next season). He had the worst qualified ERA (5.52) of any major-league starter in 2019, posting a 1.40 WHIP while striking out 143 and walking 45 over 174.1 innings.