Monday's MLB: Former Tiger Rick Porcello chooses to stay close to home with Mets

Ronald Blum
Associated Press

New York — Rick Porcello’s $10-million deal with the New York Mets shows the fruits of free agency as much as Gerrit Cole’s $324-million contract across town with the Yankees.

While Cole set a record, location was among Porcello’s primary concerns.

“I live about an hour away from Citi Field,” he said Monday after the Mets announced his contract. “That opportunity of having the hometown comfort, the ability for my father and family and friends to be able to come and see these games in person and be get to experience it a little bit more live, were pretty deciding factors for me.”

Rick Porcello is joining his third franchise, the Mets, after lengthy stints with the Red Sox and his original team, the Tigers.

Porcello lives in Morristown, N.J., and was at Seton Hall Prep in West Orange when Detroit selected him with the 27th overall pick of the 2007 amateur draft. He was traded to Boston after the 2014 season and was guaranteed $95 million by the Red Sox over the next five seasons. He won the American League Cy Young Award with a 22-4 record in 2016 and was 17-7 in 2018, when he earned a World Series ring.

He grew up a Mets fan and remembered going to a game when Mike Piazza went deep.

“Watching him in person be able to hit a home run at Shea Stadium was a huge thrill for me,” Porcello recalled, adding the 2000 NL pennant and Subway Series against the Yankees was another thrill.

“Just kind of being a fan along for that ride was absolutely incredible experience,’”he said.

A right-hander who turns 31 on Dec. 27, Porcello joins a rotation that includes Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard plus fellow New York-area natives Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz, who grew up on Long Island.

Michael Wacha, who agreed to a $3 million deal last week, also hopes to earn a rotation spot, and Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman also preparing for spring training as starters.

“I think we’re probably the deepest starting pitching rotation in baseball,” GM Brodie Van Wagenen said last week.

Porcello was 14-12 with a 5.52 ERA in 32 starts last season. He has started throwing earlier this offseason and added new drills.

Porcello has a 149-118 record and 4.36 ERA overall.

Around the horn

The Brewers signed slugging outfielder Avisail Garcia, a former top Tigers prospect, to a two-year, $20-million deal, according to multiple reports.

He spent last season with the Rays and hit .282/.332/.464 with 20 home runs and 72 RBIs.

... The Astros are bringing back right-handed reliever Joe Smith on a two-year deal worth $8 million guaranteed, the New York Post reported.

... Left-hander Joely Rodríguez and the Rangers finalized a $5.5 million, two-year contract. Rodriguez pitched the last two seasons in Japan.

... Right-hander Adam Warren signed a minor-league deal with his old team, the Yankees, but won’t pitch as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.