Ian Vescera (@Ian_Vescera)
|(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)|
Drew Pomeranz is currently in the midst of a breakout year. He is 8-7 with a 2.47 ERA (tied for 3rd in all of baseball) with 115 strikeouts. Pomeranz has thrown 102 innings this year, which already is a career high for him.
As for Espinoza, he has struggled in Single-A Salem this year. He is 5-8 in 17 starts with a 4.38 ERA and 72 strikeouts. However, the "stuff" is unquestioned. Espinoza was the top rated pitching prospect in the Sox system and many believe that he has the potential to be a great starter in the bigs. Soxprospects.com had him ranked as the 3rd best prospect in the system.
Personally, I think that this is a great deal for Boston. First off, the Sox get a quality starter. Is he a number 1 or 2 in the AL? No, probably not. That's okay though, they don't need him to be. Pomeranz just has to be better than Clay Buchholz, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Sean O'Sullivan. That should be easy enough. In addition, the Sox now have four starters you feel confident in. They still don't have a quality 5th guy yet, but when October rolls around, you only need four...
Although Pomeranz does not have a track record, that does not scare me. He is throwing the ball well right now and that is what counts. If he was available, would you want Sonny Gray in the Sox rotation right now? No, probably not. He isn't pitching well and it wouldn't solve anything. Take away the name and he isn't a guy you want on your staff at the moment. I'll take the guy pitching well right now. If Pomeranz can give the Sox a few months of quality starts and they go deep in the playoffs, this deal is well worth it. You are trying to win now. It's Papi's last year for crying out loud!
As for the future, this move still bodes well for Boston. Pomeranz is still just 27 years old and should have plenty of good years ahead of himself. He is under team control through the 2018 season and will be a relatively cheap pitching option. That is big in today's market. If this year becomes the norm going forward, you just acquired a top of the line starter. If not, you at least acquired a solid number 4 starter for the next couple of seasons. Either way, he's a guy you want on your team.
Now I get all of the reluctancy in making this move. If Espinoza becomes an All-Star and a number one, Dombrowski looks like an idiot. However, this is a gamble is worth taking. Again, they are trying to win now. If Pomeranz is serviceable than he is a huge boost to this team and it helps them get one step closer to the World Series, the ultimate goal.
As Sox fans, we get so caught up in the lure of "prospects' like they are all magical players who all turn out to be the next Mike Trout or Clayton Kershaw. In reality? Most fail. I'll take the major league talent any day of the week. That doesn't mean that the Sox should trade every prospect, but we need to trust that they have identified the guys they think will have the best success at the big league level. Although we think Espinoza is ticketed for stardom, he is just 18 years old! He isn't a guy knocking at the doorstep and ready for the majors soon. It will be years before he is up. No one actually knows what he will become. Your guess is as good as mine.
Let me end this up by saying that I definitely would have rather gotten a better, more proven starter than Pomeranz; there's no question about it. There is no track record and he could easily fail. That being said, it's a seller's market and that is the price for an All-Star pitcher (albeit an unproven one). All things considered, the Sox walk away from this trade with a guy who is throwing the baseball extremely well and is under team control for the following two seasons. Oh yeah, they managed to keep Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi. That's a win in my book.
Thoughts on the deal?
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Photo and stats via espn.com Ian Vescera 7/14/2016 07:50:00 PM Tweet