The Red Sox and Padres have agreed to a deal that will send Anderson Espinoza to the San Diego Padres in exchange for starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz. Dennis Lin had it first.
Well, the Red Sox have their starting pitcher, and if it comes at a heavy price tag, it is one of the slightly lesser price tags, and for a good, team-controlled arm.
Pomeranz, 27, has come into his own as a starting pitcher with the San Diego Padres. While the Athletics couldn't seem to decide on where the former fifth-overall pick should pitch in his time with the team, the Padres have left him in the rotation, and he's flourished. Pomeranz has pitched to a 2.47 ERA with a 10.15 K/9 to a 3.62 BB/9. If he's a little wild, he's not nearly enough so to override his exceptional strikeout rate, and if you're worried about the San Diego-to-Boston transition, know that he's kept the ball on the ground with some regularity. Between that and the strikeouts, Pomeranz is not a bad candidate to stick in Fenway Park.
Is he an ace? Not nearly so much as the ERA suggests, at least not now. But he's a strong #2/#3 candidate, and much more likely to translate well to both the American League and Boston than the likes of Julio Teheran, no disrespect meant.
What's more, Pomeranz is under control through the next couple of seasons. And while it would be nice to have someone locked in for slightly longer, 2017 is really the most important year of all. There's a dire free agent market awaiting anyone who's trying to add to their rotation in the year to come. With Pomeranz in the picture, the Red Sox can tentatively plan on a Price - Pomeranz - Wright - Porcello - Rodriguez rotation in 2017*.
Espinoza is absolutely a heavy price to pay. He's one of the game's best prospects. When a pitcher draws any comparisons to Pedro Martinez without the words "not at all like" involved, that's one hell of an arm. But Espinoza was far away, which brings uncertainty, and Boston's need was immediate. They might well look back on this as the day they gave up an extraordinary arm, but they should also look at it as the day they added one that was almost certain to be very good indeed for the next two-and-a-half years.
While a team with goals both long-term and short should never heavily overpay based on need, this is not a heavy overpay. It's a top-25 prospect far from the majors for multiple years of a good pitcher. Inevitably the wisdom of the trade will come down to hindsight. When actually looking through the lens of expected value--the gamble on Espinoza vs. the more sure thing in Drew Pomeranz, this comes out fairly even.
*I am begging you not to look into that ordering.