One of the ongoing stories for the Orioles with this year’s trade deadline is that just about every other contending team needs the same stuff that they need - starting pitching - and has more spare prospects to trade in order to get those players.
The first, and surely not the last, example of this has happened on Thursday, with Padres All-Star Drew Pomeranz being acquired by the Red Sox. The move was first reported by Dennis Lin of The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Most of the completed trades will start out with a rumor like, “So-and-so is being scouted by eight teams, including the Orioles,” and then eventually one of those other teams will trade for the player. So it is with Pomeranz, in whom the Orioles were said to be interested back on June 23.
A prospect, and possibly the only prospect, headed back to San Diego in the trade is 18-year-old Anderson Espinoza, who was just recently rated as the #14 prospect in all of baseball by ESPN’s Keith Law.
The Orioles could never have even been in this market because they don’t have a player like that to trade - and even if they did, you’d probably think they were crazy for trading that player for Pomeranz.
The Red Sox can make that trade almost without even blinking. Espinoza may have been the #14 prospect in Law’s rankings, but he was only the fourth-highest rated Red Sox prospect. They have three prospects in Law’s top 10! The Orioles have only one in Law’s top 50: Catcher Chance Sisco at #41.
Pomeranz could turn out to be a fine acquisition, one the Orioles wish they had the prospects to make. Even considering Pomeranz jumping from the NL West to the AL East, it’s hard to discount a pitcher with a 2.47 ERA who is striking out more than a quarter of the batters he faces this season.
The other plus for Pomeranz is that he’s only making $1.35 million in this season, his first year of arbitration, and he has two more years of team control remaining after this.
There will be risks for Boston as well. Their rotation is bad enough that they were desperate enough to take them on. Pomeranz has not been a starter over a whole season since 2012, and he still threw fewer than 150 innings that year.
Last season, mostly in relief, he threw 86 innings. Pomeranz is already at 102 innings in 2016. There has to be some question about how he’ll hold up the rest of the way. He is 27 and this is his first full season as a successful starter. Even if he has the strength to pitch in the rotation the whole year, there’s no telling whether he can keep up the form he’s finally discovered these last three months.
If Pomeranz, who MLB Trade Rumors noted had to “talk his way into a rotation tryout in spring training,” is worth the #14 prospect in baseball straight up, it’s another reminder that if the Orioles are going to get any starter between now and the deadline, it won’t be anyone who’s likely to be good.