SEATTLE -- They were the final hours before Opening Day. For Rick Porcello, however, the excitement of starting the 2019 season was somewhat tempered.
The starting pitcher didn't want to head into the current campaign with questions regarding his future with the Red Sox. But, much to Porcello's dismay, that is what is happening.
Wednesday afternoon, before heading out of the visitors' clubhouse at T-Mobile Park, Porcello detailed his quest to join the rest of the starting rotation in having some sort of certainty with the Red Sox beyond this season.
"Myself and my agent (Jim Murray) -- my agent was handling it -- he approached them and expressed my desire to continue to want to play here," Porcello told WEEI.com. "We expressed our willingness to take a discount to make that work. Conceptionally there were talks about it but as the spring went on economically they didn’t feel like it was going to fit. It pretty much kind of fizzled out and there were really no further talks beyond that. That’s pretty much it."
Was an actual extension ever presented to Porcello?
"No," he said. "No offer was made."
Porcello is the only member of Red Sox starting rotation who is not signed up for at least the next three years, with Chris Sale inking his new five-year, $145 extension last week, David Price still possessing four more years on his deal and Nathan Eovaldi heading into 2019 with his four-year, $68 million contract. Eduardo Rodriguez is also still three years away from free agency.
The 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner is in the final season of the four-year, $82.5 million extension he signed just prior to the 2015 Opening Day.
Besides the willingness to take "a discount" in any contract extension, Porcello also is opening the door to try and get something done in the midst of the regular season.
"Yeah. It’s how badly I want to play here," the 30-year-old said when asked if he would talk contract during the season. "I don’t think it would be a distraction for me. I would be more than willing and open to continue to talk if there is any interest from the Red Sox end going forward. But it’s pretty much up to them at this point.
"I’ve been here for four years now, I’ve learned a lot and I’ve really enjoyed playing for and representing this organization and this city. It’s kind of where my heart is. It doesn’t always work out like that to be able to continue to live it out or follow through. That part, at this point, is a little disappointing. Just keep on trucking and see where it ends up."
Porcello is heading into the 2019 schedule optimistic about his ability to perform on the field, having excelled in the 2018 postseason after winning 17 regular season games. As for the same sort of hope regarding a deal done? That is another story. For now, Porcello is accepting that part of the equation isn't going to be ideal.
"Opening Day is (Thursday). They made it pretty clear they’re not really looking to continue conversations after that so my focus is on performance and doing the best I can for 2019 and continue to try and be the best possible I can be for this organization and this city," he said. "Wherever it ends up, it ends up. My goal for the guys in this clubhouse is winning this year and doing everything I can to leave a positive last impression."