The Seattle Mariners are reportedly interested in trading for Drew Pomeranz, but are the Boston Red Sox willing to deal the lefty?
Could Drew Pomeranz be on the move after spending only a short stint in Boston? The Red Sox front office remains uncertain, but if they do decide to make him available there will certainly be interest in the talented lefty.
Boston has a surplus of starting pitching, which could relegate Pomeranz to a bullpen role he’s overqualified for following a season in which he was named to his first All-Star team. He would have more value to another team that has room in their rotation, yet the Red Sox reportedly sent mixed messages during the Winter Meetings about Pomeranz’ availability.
Pomeranz had a solid season overall, posting a 3.32 ERA and 9.8 K/9 ratio, but most of that production stems from his stellar first half as a member of the San Diego Padres. He went 3-5 with a far less appealing 4.59 ERA after he was traded to Boston and those declining results have pushed him further down the depth chart.
Despite the second half fade, there are a number of reasons to be optimistic that Pomeranz can bounce back. For one thing, he had already blown by his career high innings total by the time he got to Boston, so fatigue may have been a factor.
Many of his critics assume that Pomeranz simply couldn’t handle facing the deeper lineups of the American League, but really it was Fenway Park that gave him the most trouble. He was 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA over 28 innings at Fenway this season, compared to a 3.32 ERA over 40 2/3 innings on the road as a member of the Red Sox.
He’s not going to post the sub-2.50 ERA he did in the first half with the Padres, but he’s capable of pitching at the level we saw from him in those road starts. That’s enough to entice a team like the Mariners, who call home to a more pitcher-friendly park. Safeco Field isn’t quite as cavernous as San Diego’s Petco Park, but the home run ball that plagued him during his starts at Fenway would be less of a concern in the more spacious environment in Seattle.
While another change of scenery could be what’s best for Pomeranz, the Red Sox are hesitant to put him on the trading block. Their preference would be to deal Clay Buchholz, as shedding his $13.5 million salary off of their payroll would help them duck under the luxury tax threshold. Pomeranz is much more affordable in his second year of arbitration and remains under team control until 2019.
Boston would certainly get more in return for Pomeranz, but not nearly as much as they surrendered – top pitching prospect Anderson Espizona. Selling low on Pomeranz would make what has seemed like a bad trade thus far look even worse. If he manages to acclimate to his new environment then he may still have a bright future in Boston, or at least allow him to establish more trade value.
It’s unclear what Seattle would be willing to offer for Pomeranz, but if Boston were to entertain the idea then they would presumably ask for prospects to restock their depleted farm system. It’s a deal the Red Sox would have to consider if they can’t find a role for Pomeranz more significant than long reliever, but the Mariners would have to blow them away with an offer.
It doesn’t seem as if there has been much traction between the two teams yet, but it’s something to keep an eye on. Seattle may have merely been throwing the idea out there to see if they could snag a high-upside pitcher at a discount, but the Red Sox have yet to bite.