BOSTON -- Dave Dombrowski finally addressed the Red Sox’ scuffling starting rotation, acquiring Drew Pomeranz from San Diego in exchange for Anderson Espinoza.
This marks the fourth deal the Red Sox have made four trades since July 7th, acquiring INF Aaron Hill, INF/OF Michael Martinez and reliever Brad Ziegler before Thursday’s trade.
But Dombrowski didn’t necessarily intend for the deals to happen in that order.
“We’ve been focused on a starting pitcher in addition to a reliever and an infielder -- really looking at all three simultaneously over he last few weeks,” Dombrowski said following the acquisition of Pomeranz.
Pomeranz was on a list of starters Dombrowski and the Red Sox considered as options to add to Boston’s rotation. But the list wasn’t extensive.
“We’ve had a list of starting pitchers we’ve been working from, talking to various clubs and scouts out there, gathering information,” Dombrowski said. “There were only a couple pitchers that we thought had a chance to be available that we though would substantially upgrade our starting rotation -- Drew being one of them.”
There’s no denying that this has been the best start to a season for the 27-year-old, making his first All-Star Game and already reaching a career high in innings -- which is something Dombrowski’s aware of and expected to monitor, but not overly concerned over.
And while some of his numbers -- 2.47 ERA, 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings -- jump out, that’s not all Dombrowski’s tracked this year.
“[I] really think the big difference from last year is he’s throwing his curveball -- he has a premium curveball,” Dombrowski said. “He’s really changed his pitch mix. He’s throwing his four-seam fastball much more and he’s added the cutter.”
Dombrowski also made it clear that the Pomeranz trade isn’t solely based on his performance this year.
In fact, he’s been eyeing the lefty since the 2010 draft when Cleveland took him 5th overall -- when he was the Tigers’ general manager.
“Sometimes it takes time for guys to find themselves,” Dombrowski said. “People kind of forget [that] this was a premium guy coming out of college . . . We absolutely loved him and were sad that he went to a club in our own division at the time.”
The Red Sox are also able to retain Pomeranz for two more seasons in addition to the remainder of 2016.
Dombrowski definitely expressed that Pomeranz’s contract was a factor -- but wouldn’t say how much of one.
“I don’t know if it was a priority, but it’s helpful,” Dombrowski said. “We found we were being asked for the same people no matter what the amount of service time left was.”
Boston’s President of Baseball Operations wasn’t just approach about dealing one premium prospect in a deal either. Clubs want more than one involved in a deal -- which didn’t seem to interest him.
And that’s not to say parting with Espinoza was easy either.
“I’d rather trade three other type guys than Anderson -- but that wasn’t appealing to San Diego,” Dombrowski said.
Two things that did help Dombrowski deal his top pitching prospect was the emergence of Michael Kopech and the Red Sox reportedly agreeing to terms with 12th overall pick Jason Groome for $3.65 million.
“I think that helps. I don’t think there’s any question,” Dombrowski said on the young arms. “It is helpful to be able to have those types of guys added to the system.”
Dombrowski would not say where the Red Sox and Groome are in contract negotiations, but he said the people he has working on it, “feel encouraged,” with where things are.
The Red Sox seem to have acquired the players they needed and expect to have injured player like Junichi Tazawa and Craig Kimbrel back sooner that later.
With that, Dombrowski is happy with how the team stands -- but was non-committal when asked if he had more moves to make.
“You can always get better,” Dombrowski said. “We’ve really been able to address our major needs at this point . . . We’re hoping that Eduardo Rodriguez will step up at this point when he pitches on Saturday and we’ll se what else happens beyond that.”