The task of helping Porcello get back on track will fall on first-year pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, a former Mets pitcher himself who worked last season as an assistant pitching coach with the Minnesota Twins. The Twins were particularly apt at getting more from their pitchers, so Hefner might be up for the job.
On Wednesday, the New York Mets Michael Wacha — a seeming buy-low addition to help fill out their rotation. The Mets appear to have pulled off the same trick on Thursday, inking former Boston Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello to a one-year deal, according to Ken Rosenthal and Eno Sarris of The Athletic.
The Mets have also shown interest in Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte. It’s unclear if they would have the means — financially or prospect-wise — to pull off a deal. Marte is a popular name on the trade market due to his team-friendly contract and above-average contributions both ways.
For as bad as Porcello was in 2019 — when he tallied an 87 ERA+ and recorded a quality start just 13 times — he has a few points working in his favor. He has good control, he’s made at least 32 starts four seasons running, and his spin rates and strikeout-to-walk measures are quality. Factor in Porcello’s troubles at Fenway Park in recent seasons, and some team is going to look at him and see a buy-low opportunity. Porcello ranked No. 43 on our top-50 free agents list entering the winter. Here’s what we wrote: