Pittsburgh Pirates Free Agent Target: Starting Pitcher Rick Porcello


As Ben Cherington begins to search for help for the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation a pitcher he once traded for could be a free agent target

Next to catcher, the Pittsburgh Pirates biggest need this offseason is starting pitching help. Other than Jordan Lyles who was traded in July and Dario Agrazal who was traded last week after being designated for assignment, the team returns every pitcher who started a game for them in 2019. However, this is not necessarily a good thing.

Mitch Keller showed flashes of why he is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball and Joe Musgrove took the next step in his development putting together the strongest season of his career. Behind these two, however, the rotation is a mess.

Chris Archer is coming off the worst season of his career and a pair of injured list stints. Trevor Williams had a woeful season after a breakout campaign in 2018, and the rest of the team’s starts went to career minor leaguers and Steven Brault.

As the Pirates pursue starting pitching help this offseason, Cherington will peruse both the free agent and trade markets.

During his time as general manager of the Boston Red Sox, Cherington traded for starting pitcher Rick Porcello from the Detroit Tigers. During his time in Boston Porcello would win an American League Cy Young Award before running into some rough times in recent seasons. Now, Porcello is available on the free agent market and could be a free agent target for Cherington this offseason.

In 2016 Procello won the AL Cy Young Award by posting a 3.15 ERA, 3.40 FIP and a 5.1 fWAR in 33 starts. Since capturing the award, Porcello has posted a 4.79 ERA and a 4.45 FIP in 98 starts. Over the course of these three seasons Porcello has been worth an average of 2.1 fWAR per season.

Last season Porcello made 32 starts for the Red Sox. He posted a 5.52 ERA, 4.76 FIP and a 1.8 fWAR in these 32 starts. While he is not the pitcher he was in 2016, he is still a quality starting pitcher capable of eating innings of the Pirates.

Next. Free Agent Target: Catcher Austin Romine. dark

While Porcello is not the pitcher he once was, he would still be a stabilizing veteran presence in the Pirates’ starting rotation. Combine this with Cherington’s ties to Porcello and the fact his price tag should not be overly high, and he could be a free agent target for the team this offseason.