Drew Pomeranz is named as one of the Mariners’ trade targets by The News Tribune’s Bob Dutton. The question: are the Red Sox at all willing to deal him.
We know the Red Sox are looking to trade a starting pitcher. They have seven of them, and while some would say that they should hold onto all those arms, both conventional wisdom and a good deal of rumor smoke suggest they will, in fact, make a deal. For any of the teams out there in search of starting pitching in a very dead market, then, the Red Sox seem like a great trade partner.
The problem here lies in which one of those pitchers they’re looking to deal. By all accounts, it’s Clay Buchholz, and not Drew Pomeranz. The reasons are pretty obvious, as Buchholz is owed more, under team control for just one year, and has injury issues that make him hard to rely on for the long-haul in 2017. But the same things that make Pomeranz appealing to the Red Sox make him appealing to other teams, as is the case with Buchholz’ flaws making him less so.
There is something to be said for the fact that the Red Sox may be one of the teams best positioned to deal with having Buchholz in the rotation. Teams that are looking to deal for a starting pitcher are obviously not terribly likely to have great options for sixth men lined up to take his place if (when?) that injury strikes. The Red Sox would presumably be turning to 2016 All-Star Steven Wright, assuming Buchholz wasn’t put in that sixth man role to begin with. Dumping Buchholz’ salary would give them more room at the trade deadline, say, but they can get very close to coming in under the luxury tax even just by dropping Drew Pomeranz’ contract. They’d also certainly get more back given Pomeranz’ value.
For all that, though, it seems like the Red Sox are in a position where they’re looking to really be blown away by any trade offer for someone like Pomeranz, while they’re perhaps more flexible with the sort of return they’d accept for Buchholz. With all the major roster needs filled, they’re also not in any great rush to act. There’s a good three-and-a-half months before the season starts, and frankly, waiting until late March would at once protect them against injuries, and give time for other teams to get more desperate should they suffer their own. This is especially true in this offseason, as any free agent rotation acquisitions are likely to be low-price and low-impact—the quality just isn’t there—which will keep even teams that add starters from abandoning the market.
So the Mariners want Pomeranz now, but the Red Sox don’t seem all that interested in dealing him. Maybe given a few more months to stew, they’ll start to come down to meet the Red Sox.