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Checking in on the Red Sox summer trade acquisitions

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It’s only been about a month for most of these players, but how have Dombrowski’s trade targets done to start their Boston careers?

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

It’s hard to think rationally about this Red Sox team right now. They’ve been brutal to watch lately, and they certainly do not look like a playoff team. On the other hand, they’d occupy a wildcard spot if the season ended today, and they’ve looked unstoppable at other times. Dave Dombrowski recognized that there were flaws with this team and tried to address him in July. Sure, he didn’t go out and make the big move for a Chris Sale type, but he made a few other deals to add to the depth of this team. Let’s quickly check in and see how these new additions have done since coming to Boston.

Aaron Hill

.217/.288/.300 56 OPS+

Acquiring Hill made a ton of sense for the Red Sox, who desperately needed some help with their infield depth, particularly in the form of a right-handed bat. That he was enjoying a bounce-back season in Milwaukee was even better. Well, his first 66 plate appearances in Boston have been a disappointment. The good news is that some of this is BABIP related, as he’s gone from a .309 mark with the Brewers to .231 with the Red Sox. On the other hand, he’s also cut his walk rate from an above-average 10.3 percent to below-average 7.6 percent. There have also been some contact-quality issues, as, per Baseball-Reference, he’s hit fewer line drives since coming to Boston while also seeing his ISO plummet to a dismal .083. It’s fair to label Hill a disappointment so far, though there are reasons to believe he should pick it up to a certain extent.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Ziegler

3.18 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 3.67 K/BB 11.1 IP

This was the steal of Boston’s summer, as they gave up a couple of low-impact prospects and got back a more-than-serviceable bullpen arm. Unfortunately, the timing of this one is a little rough, as Ziegler is coming off a rough outing on Thursday night in which he blew the lead with a three-run inning. Even with that night, though, he’s been mostly good in his short time in Boston. He certainly hasn’t been a dominant force, but he’s been just about everything you could have hoped for. Sure, the ERA is a bit higher than one may like, but allowing three runs in one inning in your last appearance has a tendency to inflate things. On the other hand, he’s striking out more batters than he ever has and walking opponents at a rate as low as he ever had. Even better is the fact that he’s not sacrificing his patented ground ball approach, as he’s still inducing grounders on 67 percent of his batted balls. The blow-up against the Yankees will leave a bad taste in one’s mouth for his next few outings, but so far Ziegler has been everything we’ve asked for and more.

Drew Pomeranz

5.26 ERA, 5.67 FIP, 2.00 K/BB, 25.2 IP

While Ziegler may have been the steal of the summer, Pomeranz was the prize. The Red Sox were long rumored to be looking at starting pitching, and this was their guy. There was even a bit of added pressure here given that the team gave up the much-hyped Anderson Espinoza. The early returns have been....not so great. The most noticeable thing about his transition to the Red Sox and the American League in general has been how much batters are taking advantage of his spells of bad command. It’s leading to high walk rates — 11.4 percent since joining the Red Sox — as well as limiting the lengths of his outings. So far, he’s gone three innings, and then had two appearances apiece of 5.1 and six innings. On top of that, his strikeout rate is falling and his home run rate has risen substantially. Now, it’s not all bad news. For one thing, he’s still inducing plenty of ground balls, which was a big part of his success in San Diego. Additionally, his falling strikeout rate is still above-average at nearly 23 percent. Plus, the home run issues are at least partially due to some small sample size noise. If we were to slap a grade on Pomeranz right now, it would certainly not be a good one, but there are enough glimmers of hope to leave him with an incomplete.

Fernando Abad

10.13 ERA, 7.63 FIP, 2.00 K/BB, 2.2 IP

Woof. Since Abad was the one real trade deadline acquisition, we’re obviously dealing with a small sample here. As such, it’s hard to judge him too harshly. On the other hand, basically everything we’ve seen has been bad. The lefty has allowed runs in two of his four outings, both of which ended up being blown saves. He also hasn’t been particularly effective against lefties, with the home run he allowed to Robinson Cano in his first game coming immediately to mind. Abad was never going to be a dominant, Andrew Miller-type arm out of the bullpen, but they needed him to at least be solid. The sample is too small to dive into the numbers, but the much-lauded eye test hasn’t inspired much confidence at this point.

Michael Martinez

.167/.286/.167 25 OPS+

Oh yeah. I legitimately forgot about Martinez. He was a depth piece for a little bit, and now he’s not. He did his job, sort of. Next season I’ll look at some numbers from this year’s team, see Martinez’s name and take a solid five minutes to remember him.

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In the small sample since these trades have been made, it’s hard to be overly excited about Dombrowski’s summer moves. Ziegler has been mostly solid, but the rest of the crew has been a group of disappointments. The good news is, in the cases of Hill and Pomeranz, there is some reason to be optimistic about a turnaround. If the Red Sox are going to turn things around, most of the heavy lifting will be done by the players who have been here all year. Still, a rebound from the new acquisitions certainly wouldn’t hurt, either.