If they thought this bullpen would be "good enough" without Kimbrell and Kelly (adding Wright and one of many kids), then getting rid of Porcello from the SAME TEAM THAT WON 108 GAMES AND THE WORLD FUCKING SERIES would have been met with wild disbelief and anger.I've said it time and again but the mistake was not dealing Porcello. If they weren't planning to extend him, they should have dealt him before the season starter to create greater financial flexibility and maximize the return while he was still a fairly valuable starter. His worth has cratered this season after he's done what his career says he always does after a good season: shit the bed the next one. They should still trade him but now they can't because their 3rd starter is now their prospective closer and there's no one to step in if he leaves except another filler guy or some guy that's even worse that would be acquired in a deal. It's looking more and more likely they're going to lose him at the end of the season for nothing instead of getting something while he still had some real value to a team that needed an arm. While there was some reason to believe Eovaldi would go down with an injury again this season based on career track record, some of the money saved by dealing away Porcello could have been committed to a true 5th starter so the rotation would have been Sale-Price-Eovaldi-Rodriguez-5th starter and they likely still would have had the capital to go out and sign Keuchel (based on what he signed for with Atlanta) after the draft pick penalty expired if Eovaldi had still gone down with injury. And with that 5th starter, even with Eovaldi's injury, they would have still been in a position to lean on guys like Hector and the fringe bullpen guys, but only for a few weeks until Keuchel or some other guy off the street was ready to log some innings. And with those same savings, they might have been able to beat New York's offer to Ottavino (if that would have made a difference) or gone out and acquired a better reliever than Brewer.
Maybe they thought Porcello was primed for another good season but I still believe many of the team's luxury tax concern woes can be laid at the feet of not clearing his salary before spring training ended. It wouldn't have been the first time they lost a key piece of a championship team and still would have been in contention the following season (e.g., losing Pedro after 2004 and losing Schilling (kind of) after 2007 (since he was unable to pitch in 2008). Either way, that extra $20 million or so to play with would have been really nice.