Dave Dombrowski has given the Red Sox the pitching help they desperately needed. However, will it be enough?
Dave Dombrowski has done it again. If there is one thing we have learned about our new President of Baseball Operations over the past year, it’s that he likes to set the market, not follow it. We saw it last winter when he was effectively done making moves before half the league had even started. Now, we are seeing it again as the trade deadline approaches.
The Red Sox have made the first big trade for starting pitching this season. All-star lefty, Drew Pomeranz, is now going to be pitching at Fenway for the remainder of the summer. Hopefully, he will still be pitching deep into October as well.
There is little doubt that Pomeranz will help to stabilize Boston’s rotation. He had been having an outstanding year for the Padres in the first half. He held a 2.47 ERA with 115 strikeouts in 102 innings. Even with a likely regression coming as he transitions to he AL East, he’ll still be an above-average rotation piece. So now there is only one big question to ask. Is he enough?
Is the addition of Pomeranz alone enough to save the back of Boston’s rotation from the nightmare that it’s been? The answer has to be no. If the Red Sox really want to feel secure moving towards the playoffs, they are going to have to trade for another starter before the deadline.
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As it stands, all it takes is one injury for the rotation to spiral back out of control. The staff currently consists of Price, Wright, Porcello, Pomeranz, and Rodriguez/Buchholz. Both Pomeranz and Steven Wright have already pitched more innings this year than they ever have before in a single season. They are most likely more durable than young pitchers, but there is still no telling how well they will hold up.
What happens if one of them goes down? Or if Price or Porcello gets hurt? If any of that happens, you are looking at a rotation that once again contains both Rodriguez and Buchholz pitching every week. Unless Rodriguez can return to his 2015 form, that scenario will not be acceptable as the Red Sox move down the stretch. To put themselves above the rest, the team is going to need four dependable starters at all times.
Right now, Boston is starting the second half with a solid rotation. But that rotation is on thin ice. If Dombrowski can just trade for one more dependable starter the team will be in a far better situation. Time and time again, teams are reminded just how important depth is on a roster. The Red Sox are no different. More injuries are going to come.
Dombrowski’s next move should be to attempt to trade for a starter like Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson is never going to dazzle anybody with his pitching ability. What he is going to do however, is eat innings and be a solid back-end guy. That is exactly the type of player the Red Sox need to add as a sort of stop-gap to disaster. Basically, with Hellickson on the staff, one of the better pitchers could get injured without sending the rest of the rotation down the toilet. Not only that, but he would not cost Boston any of its top prospects.
The Red Sox are entering the second half nowhere near as desperate as they were for pitching. They are already a better team moving forward, but “Dealin’ Dave” still has his work to do. One more starting pitcher would set Boston apart from the rest of the division.