Porcello can't help but look ahead to what might be

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- A year away from free agency, it's hard for Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello not to think about what he could make if he was to hit the open market.

Just look at his former teammate, Max Scherzer. Scherzer entered this offseason as one of the top free-agent pitchers before signing a seven-year, $210 million deal with the Washington Nationals.

Porcello said he didn't talk to Scherzer much during the entire process. But he definitely recognized the end result, prompting him to text Scherzer after the deal was complete.

"I text messaged him and said, 'Good for you, you lucky you-know-what,' " Porcello said.

It could be Porcello in the same shoes as Scherzer next offseason. Having just been traded to the Red Sox by the Detroit Tigers in December, Porcello said Saturday at the team's Baseball Winter Weekend that he isn't yet ready to consider signing an extension to stay in Boston beyond the one year he has left on his current contract.

"I just got here and met the guys last night, so I think it's premature for that," Porcello said. "I'm just trying to settle in and fit in with everybody and get to know the guys and get to know the staff."

Porcello and the Red Sox avoided arbitration earlier this month with a reported one-year, $12.5 million deal. At 26 with six major league seasons already under his belt, Porcello would represent an interesting free-agency case given his age.

While he hasn't come close to posting Scherzer-like numbers yet in his career, he did enjoy his finest season in 2014, going 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA and eclipsing the 200-inning threshold for the first time. Given the money that teams have paid for quality starting pitchers in recent years, Porcello acknowledged there are clear benefits to such, although he's more focused on just pitching well in 2015.

"Growing up you played baseball because you love playing the sport and then the money stuff gets thrown around. And obviously for somebody -- in a personal, financial standpoint -- that's a huge opportunity and a big thing to look at," Porcello said. "But I think, at least for me over the course of my career, no matter how much money I'd make, I'm not happy unless I'm playing well. That's first and foremost."

Of course, the Red Sox are likely to be interested in extending Porcello given the premium talent (Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes) they gave up to acquire him. But as spring training approaches and the negotiating window before the season starts to close, it appears Porcello doesn't have his mind set on the matter right now.

"I think right now the most important thing on my mind is getting to know the guys and fitting in to the clubhouse and preparing to have a good year," he said. "Whatever else happens, it happens. My focus is on the baseball aspect of things and getting ready to perform."

Porcello joked that now that Scherzer has made "all those big dollars," he may not have time for him anymore. With another strong season, Porcello figures to put himself in a similar situation next offseason.

He could be the next lucky you-know-what.