The Orioles have been without a left-handed starting pitcher since Wei-Yin Chen departed in free agency. They are looking to fix that on the trade market if they can. That’s according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, who reports that the O’s are interested in both Pittsburgh’s Francisco Liriano and San Diego’s Drew Pomeranz.
I wrote about the Liriano part of the rumor yesterday. He is not a name to impress. Although he has had three good seasons with the Pirates, he has a 5+ ERA now and an above-Ubaldan walk rate.
Pomeranz, on the other hand, is much more interesting of a player to potentially acquire. If you’re wondering why the name is familiar, it’s because Pomeranz is the younger brother of Stu Pomeranz, who pitched three games for the 2012 Orioles.
The younger Pomeranz was the fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft by the Indians. He was later sent to the Rockies in the 2011 trade that brought Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland. Prior to the 2012 season, he rated among the top 25-30 prospects in all of baseball, as high as #24 on MLB.com’s prospect ranking that year.
Pomeranz, like many pitchers, did not thrive in the Rockies organization and was eventually traded twice more, to the Athletics prior to the 2014 season and to the Padres prior to this season.
It’s only this season, his sixth in the big leagues, that the 27-year-old Pomeranz has found some success as a full-time starting pitcher. A promising month in 2014 was knocked awry by Pomeranz punching a chair, fracturing his right hand, and landing on the disabled list - he only started two more games the rest of that season.
Things have gone better in his fourth organization this year. Pomeranz has started 14 games with a 3.00 ERA. What’s most interesting is that the 6’6” lefty has struck out 96 batters in 81 innings. That’s good! He’s also walked 38 batters in that time, which isn’t good.
The thing about Pomeranz is that if he’s actually good (or even if he isn’t) the Orioles will hardly be the only suitor for him. Pomeranz has two more seasons of arbitration remaining after this one. That would make his acquisition similar to that of Bud Norris as far as time the O’s could potentially get out of him.
The Padres are bad and he might be their best asset. The Orioles don’t have the prospects to win a bidding war - or if they do, they might be better off not winning the bidding war after all.
Pitchers coming from the NL to the AL will always make me nervous. Oh, and another thing to take into consideration is that Pomeranz has never topped 146.2 innings pitched as a professional, so he’s already more than halfway to what would be a career high in innings. And that was back in 2012. Would he even make it to the end of the season this year?
My standard rule for baseball rumors remains this: Probably nothing will happen. The Orioles never get the first guy they want on the trade market. That’s not how it works. They just don’t do it. Pomeranz will probably end up going somewhere else. It’s still interesting that they’re already asking around.