Playing the “hindsight is 20/20” game, which might be the most fun left to be had in this season quickly devolving into a lost cause, how bad does the Yoenis Cespedes-for-Rick Porcello trade this past offseason look now?
Worse, has anyone really looked at Porcello deal extended to him by the Sox headed into this year? He’s due $12.5 million next season and then a whopping $20 million-plus in each of the following four seasons. There’s no way to classify it as anything other than an utter disaster.
Porcello, of course, has posted one of the league’s worst starting pitcher ERAs at 5.90 and just plainly looks lost when he takes the mound. He wasn’t bad Saturday in a 3-0 loss to the Angels, serving up a pair of home runs and striking out five with three walks in five innings. But at no point this year has he really looked like ace material.
And why isn’t anyone talking about what was given up to get him?
Boston shipped off Yoenis Cespedes – who is carrying a 3.2 wins over average replacement player rating for Detroit this year with 103 hits (which would lead the Red Sox had he stayed) and a slash line of .293/.319/.493.
But Boston also sent away reliever Alex Wilson, who is carrying a 1.036 WHIP and a 2.14 ERA out of the bullpen in 31 appearances for Detroit this year, and prospect pitcher Gabe Speier. Speier too has performed well in Single-A ball. It gives me the same pit-in-the-stomach feeling that I get when I think about Anthony Rizzo being traded away for Adrian Gonzalez five years ago.
Picture this year had the Porcello deal not happened and if the Red Sox hadn’t been so set on signing Hanley Ramirez to plug him in a position where he has no business playing: Cespedes starting in left, extra (and, as it turns out, much-needed) help out of the bullpen and a whole bunch of extra funding to play around with as this talented young core of players gets older. One of the younger arms gets a shot in the rotation and at worst breaks even with Porcello’s numbers this year while getting important innings at the big league level.
This is why I hate splashy offseason moves. Hanley Ramirez has shown plenty of pop, cracking 19 home runs and driving in a team-leading 46 runs. But his defense is a nightly circus (and not showing any real signs of improvement), he carries a remarkable-considering-the-price-spent -0.1 WAR.
It’s the theme of 2015 for me: “Win the offseason, boot the next three years.”