Last July, the Boston Red Sox acquired Drew Pomeranz from the San Diego Padres for prospect Anderson Espinoza. Some expressed concern about giving away a highly touted prospect in Espinoza, who compared to Pedro Martinez. The Red Sox sorely wanted one last push to make the playoffs with their elder statesman David Ortiz in his final season.
At the time of the trade, he brought an 8-7 record, with a 2.47 ERA, a 1.06 Whip, an impressive .184 Opp BA and averaging 10 strikeouts per nine innings. Last year that made a lot of sense. Trade a prospect who was only in Lower-A Greenville, for an All-Star southpaw (Pomeranz made his first All-Star game in 2016 as a member of the Padres) who could anchor the back end of our rotation. And locked up through the following season to boot.
Photo courtesy of ESPN
A Rocky Beginning
However, the buzz died quickly. In his first start against the San Francisco Giants, he gave up five runs over three innings and surrendered two home-runs. He got a shellacking from the visiting team as well as the Fenway faithful as he exited the ballpark.
Pomeranz would rebound as serviceable the month of August. But then he experienced two dismal back-to-back outings in September, where he managed only two innings and three and two-thirds, respectively. To add salt to the wound, he was taxing the bullpen and struggling with the long ball, giving it up in every game except one since joining the team.
He made one more outing before he was held out for 10 days due to soreness in his left forearm, a nightmare scenario for almost any pitcher.
This prompted medical concerns from the Red Sox organization. They believed that the Padres did not disclose all the necessary medical information during the trade talks. Major League Baseball eventually investigated the claim. San Diego Padres General Manager A.J. Preller was suspended by MLB for not fully disclosing the medical records of Drew Pomeranz.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 15, 2016
Sources: In addition to A.J. Preller’s suspension, the Padres were fined an undisclosed amount by MLB.
— Dennis Lin (@sdutdennislin) September 16, 2016
Red Sox and Pomeranz Move On
The Red Sox stood behind Pomeranz, and moved him to the bullpen where he pitched in two games in the ALDS versus the Cleveland Indians. His inconsistency lingered, going two-plus innings without surrendering a run, followed by a second outing where he took the loss in the final game of the series.
It’s a New Year, A New Pomeranz
They say, “Hope Springs Eternal” or does it? In a May game in Oakland after throwing 98-pitches through four innings, on the heels of two sub-par appearances, John Farrell yanked him. The two exchanged words in the dugout.
While Drew Pomeranz showed frustration, it may have created a turning point. He went on to win the next 9 of 11 decisions. He is currently 12-4 with a 3.39 ERA, tying him for 8th in wins in all of MLB. Arguably in the best season of his career, Pomeranz stepped up in the absence of David Price as the number-two man in the rotation.
In fact, after his performance against the Yankees this past weekend, where he bested Luis Severino, pitching another quality start, it just shows a year can make all the difference for a player.
Just ask Drew Pomeranz.