It’s been tough sledding for the former Red Sox Cy Young winner.

Unfortunately for Rick Porcello, Wednesday night’s struggle against the Tampa Bay Rays was just the most recent disappointing outing for the former Red Sox ace. After a three inning thrashing to begin the game, Porcello made it through 5.2 innings, but saw his season ERA climb to 5.74 – the worst of his career – and worst with Boston.

In a contract season, Porcello’s performance woes could not have come at a worse time. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the veteran’s days in Boston are becoming numbered, as there was radio silence in regards to offseason extension talks and continued struggles won’t incentivize Dave Dombrowski to work out a deal. A 4.85 FIP and 1.46 WHIP, coupled with a declining K% and average fastball velocity all represent signs of danger for the soon-to-be free agent.

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As for 2019, the Boston Red Sox need to give Rick Porcello a break. He’s been struggling immensely, allowing 3 ER or less in a start just three times since the beginning of June. The veteran arm has become a liability for the Sox in a time where they need their proven commodities to lead them. Releasing him is not an option at this point, due to his contractual situation and lack of organizational depth.

At this point, it would be wise for Alex Cora to either skip Porcello in the rotation once, or to send him to the Injured List with a “shoulder fatigue” designation where he can get back to form. The Red Sox Major League-ready depth has largely been converted to relievers (Darwinzon Hernandez, Mike Shawaryn, Tanner Houck) which may leave Brian Johnson as the starter to fill in the rotation. It’s not an ideal situation to be in, but as of late, Porcello has been a large hindrance to a club that’s trying to get into the postseason.

Porcello’s future with the Red Sox organization is very much in the air, but it’s trending down. As of now, it’s hard to see a situation where Rick Porcello is back in Boston in 2020.

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