Red Sox Analysis

Should Red Sox start extension talks with Brayan Bello?

The 24-year-old has emerged as Boston's ace this season.

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Almost exactly a year removed from his big-league debut, Brayan Bello is making his case to earn a long-term commitment from the Boston Red Sox.

Bello made his first MLB start on July 6, 2022, as the most promising Red Sox pitching prospect in over a decade. While he experienced some growing pains as a rookie, he showed flashes of the brilliance that he has displayed consistently so far in 2023.

The 24-year-old right-hander has amassed a 3.04 ERA and 1.19 WHIP through 14 starts this season. He's pitched at least 6 2/3 innings with no more than two runs allowed in each of his last five outings, including a start in which he took a no-hitter into the eighth vs. the Miami Marlins. With each time he takes the mound, Bello is proving capable of anchoring the Red Sox pitching staff.

Bello's recent success prompted WEEI's Rob Bradford to ask the Dominican Republic native whether the Red Sox have approached him about a contract extension.

"I’m not sure if they have talked to my lawyers. That’s their job and I haven’t spoken to them about anything like that," Bello answered. "I would love it. I love this organization. I would love to stay here, but I haven’t really given it much thought."

Bello is Boston's most hyped homegrown arm since Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, who debuted in 2006 and 2007 respectively. The club didn't rush to extend either pitcher. Lester inked a five-year, $30 million deal before his fourth MLB season in March of 2009. Buccholz earned a four-year extension worth about $30 million in April of 2011, his fifth season in the majors.

The difference is it took longer for Lester and Buccholz to exhibit the ace potential that Bello has shown. Lester had two subpar seasons before breaking through in 2008. Buccholz has a rocky start to his MLB career but was rewarded by the organization after an impressive 2010 campaign.

If Bello keeps up his current pace, initiating contract extension talks should be a no-brainer for the Red Sox. His price is only increasing with each start. The Alex Anthopoulos-led Atlanta Braves have laid out the blueprint for team-friendly contracts in recent years, including the signing of strikeout machine Spencer Strider to a six-year extension worth $75 million after his sensational rookie season. There's no reason Boston shouldn't follow suit with a similar deal.

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