The Orioles and Chris Tillman were said to be working on a long-term extension this offseason in the hopes of having a deal done before Opening Day. With the season opener now in the rearview mirror, talks would seem to have been tabled, given Tillman’s desire to not have any distractions hanging over his head during the season.
Meanwhile, in Boston, Rick Porcello is laughing his way to the bank. The Red Sox just inked the big righty to a four-year, $82.5 million deal with an average annual salary of $20.625 million. That is a ton of money for a lifetime ERA of 4.30.
Unfortunately for the Orioles, the large contract could hurt them more than it does the Red Sox.
Tillman and Porcello have one thing in common: they’re both 26. That’s where the similarities end. Tillman has proven to be the better pitcher across the board. Since working with Rick Peterson in 2012 to change his mechanics, Tillman has been a completely different pitcher than we saw the previous three years.
On July 4th, 2012, TIllman made his season debut against his former team, the Seattle Mariners, hurling 8.1 innings while giving up two runs (0 earned) on just two hits. Since that date, Tillman has gone 39-16 with a 3.39 ERA, establishing himself as one of the better starters in the American League.
Overall, TIllman is 46-31 (.597) with a 3.95 ERA and 1.294 WHIP. He has back-to-back seasons of 200+ IP, and since he became a full-time starter midway through 2012, his highest ERA is 3.71 in 2013.
Meanwhile, Beantown’s newest purchase has been a full-time starter since 2009 when he burst on the scene with 14 wins and a 3.96 ERA as a rookie in Detroit at the age of 20. For the Tigers, Rick Porcello would take five years to match those numbers as from 2010-2013 his ERA never got lower than 4.32. In his final season in Detroit before being traded to Boston, he put up 15 wins, a 3.43 ERA and his first 200-inning season, just in time to sign with another team.
For his career, Porcello is 76-63 (.547) with a 4.30 ERA and 1.359 WHIP. He has one season of 200 IP, which occurred in 2014, and his lowest ERA of 3.43, also last year, is still higher than Tillman’s AVERAGE ERA since becoming a full-time starter. The only edge that Porcello has on Tillman, based on numbers alone, is he allows less than 0.9HR/9IP in his career, whereas Tillman has allowed 1.3HR/9IP.
For the Orioles, the lofty contract signed by Porcello is possibly the worst thing that could have happened to their negotiations with Tillman, a pitcher of the same age with better numbers across the board.
If Porcello is worth more than $20m a year to the Red Sox, I shudder to think of the money Tillman will command.