Red Sox acquire right-handed pitcher Rick Porcello from Tigers

Send Outfielder Yoenis Céspedes, Right-Handed Pitcher Alex Wilson, and Minor League Left-Handed Pitcher Gabe Speier to Detroit

BOSTON, MA - The Boston Red Sox today acquired right-handed pitcher Rick Porcello from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Céspedes, right-handed pitcher Alex Wilson, and minor league left-handed pitcher Gabe Speier. Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington made the announcement.
 
Porcello, 25, went 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 204.2 innings over 32 appearances for the Tigers last season, including 31 starts. Along with leading the American League with three shutouts, he also placed among AL leaders while setting career bests in wins (T-8th), ERA (17th), innings (13th), and road ERA (6th, 2.66). He held both right-handed and left-handed batters to a .268 batting average, ranked second in the majors with 30 opponent ground into double plays, and had the eighth-highest ground ball-to-fly ball ratio in the AL.

The native of Morristown, NJ issued a career-low 1.8 walks per nine innings in 2014, the eighth-best mark in the AL and his third season among the league's top 10 in that category. His 2.21 career walks per nine innings ratio ranks fifth among active big leaguers with at least 1,000 innings, trailing only Dan Haren (1.86), Cliff Lee (1.94), Mark Buehrle (2.05), and Ricky Nolasco (2.10). He joins Felix Hernandez and James Shields as the only three AL qualifiers to average fewer than 3.0 walks per nine innings pitched over each of the last six seasons.

In his final 18 outings (17 starts) of 2014 beginning on July 26, he posted a 3.18 ERA, the 12th-best mark among AL pitchers with at least 100.0 innings. That stretch began with back-to-back complete game, 9.0-inning shutouts on June 26 at Texas and July 1 against Oakland, respectively.  

Signed by the Tigers as the 27th selection in the first round of the 2007 June Draft, Porcello has made at least 27 starts and pitched at least 162.2 innings in all six big league seasons since his 2009 debut.

He placed third among AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2009 after going 14-9 with a 3.96 ERA in 31 starts for the Tigers. That year, the 20-year-old was the youngest player in the AL. His 14 wins in 2009 remain the most for any pitcher in a season before turning 21 since the Mets' Dwight Gooden won 24 games in 1985. In the live ball era (since 1920), no other AL pitcher has won as many games in his first major league season as a 20-year-old or younger.

Porcello has reached double-digits in wins in every season of his big league career, just the third pitcher in modern major league history (since 1900) to record at least 10 wins in each of his first six seasons before turning 26 years old, along with Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley and Bert Blyleven. No other modern major league pitcher has made more than 25 starts in each of his first six big league seasons, all before turning 26.

Porcello appeared with the Tigers in the postseason in three consecutive seasons from 2011-13, going 0-2 with a 4.41 ERA in eight outings (2 starts), including four scoreless relief appearances in the 2012 and 2013 postseasons.

Cespedes, 29, combined to hit .260 (156-for-600) with 36 doubles, six triples, 22 home runs, and 100 RBI in 152 games between the Oakland Athletics and Red Sox last season. A first-time All-Star in 2014, he set career highs in several offensive categories, including games, runs (89), at-bats, RBI, triples, and total bases (270). Among all American League qualifiers last season, Cespedes finished within the top 10 in extra-base hits (8th, 64), RBI (9th), and doubles (9th). Since joining the Red Sox on August 1 of last year, he led the club with 33 RBI in 51 games. Defensively, he set a career high with a major league-leading 16 outfield assists, four of which came with the Red Sox. Following the season, he was named a finalist for the AL Gold Glove Award in left field. Boston acquired Cespedes along with a 2015 Competitive Balance draft pick in exchange for left-handed pitcher Jon Lester, outfielder Jonny Gomes, and cash considerations on July 31, 2014. Cespedes, originally an international free agent from Cuba signed by Oakland on March 3, 2012, has hit .263 (425-for-1,616) with 82 doubles, 15 triples, 71 home runs, and 262 RBI in 416 major league games between the A's (2012-14), and Red Sox (2014).

Wilson, 27, went 1-0 and posted a career-low 1.91 ERA (6 ER/28.1 IP) with five walks and 19 strikeouts in 18 relief appearances for the Red Sox in 2014. Used exclusively as a reliever over the last two full seasons, Wilson allowed only three home runs over his 56.0 innings of work in the majors in that span. When he made his major league debut with Boston in 2013, Wilson became the first Saudi Arabian-born pitcher to appear in a big league game. For his major league career, which has spanned the last two years with the Red Sox (2013-14), he has gone 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA (21 ER/56.0 IP), 19 walks, and 41 strikeouts in 44 appearances, all in relief. The Red Sox' 2011 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Wilson was originally a second-round selection (77th overall) by Boston in the 2009 June Draft.

Speier, 19, spent this past season, his second in professional baseball, with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox. In his nine games (six starts) for the Gulf Coast League champions, he went 3-0 with a 1.55 ERA (5 ER/29.0 IP), one walk, and 26 strikeouts. He held opponents to two runs or fewer in all nine of his appearances in 2014, and allowed only six extra-base hits on the season (5 doubles, 1 triple), none of which were home runs. The nephew of former major league veteran Chris Speier, Gabe was a 19th-round selection by the Red Sox in the 2013 June Draft. Over his professional career, Speier has gone 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA (6 ER/33.0 IP), two walks, and 32 strikeouts in 12 games (8 starts).

With this transaction, Boston's 40-man roster is now at 38.