Failed trades and additions
We also can’t forget the aspect of Dave Dombrowski that left most of Red Sox Nation scratching their heads. The moves to get Tyler Thornburg to bolster the bullpen and the infamous trade to get Drew Pomeranz, which drew the ire of MLB after San Diego GM failed to disclose medical records. We all know that Thornburg, who had one good season, was a complete bust. What did the Sox give up for Thornburg?
The Red Sox traded away four players to get Thornburg, including Josh Pennington, Mauricio Dubon, Yeison Coca, and then-third baseman, Travis Shaw. Shaw went on to have an All-Star season the year of the trade with Milwaukee, slashing .273/31/101. He hit 32 homers the following season. Pennington retired in 2018 after multiple arm injuries, Dubon made his debut this season and was then traded by the Brewers to the Giants. He’s currently hitting .328 in 11 games. Coca hasn’t amounted to much as he is still hitting just over .200 in Single-A ball.
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Thornburg was traded in late 2016 during the Winter Meetings. Over his three seasons in Boston, he appeared in just 41 games, winning two, registering a 6.54 ERA, and allowing 31 earned runs in 42 2/3 innings of work. A far cry from his 2016 numbers. Rumors began to swirl that Thornburg was fatigued before joining Boston and made some think that this, like several other moves, was a dirty trade as the GM trading him might have known of his issues before moving him for a haul and a half.
The trade for Pomeranz was also met with disgust as the Sox were moving Anderson Espinoza, one of their best pitching prospects. It was later revealed that Pomeranz had failed his medical and that Padres General Manager A.J. Preller knew of his issues and was the reason for him trading him away. His punishment? It’s long been known that in MLB, not all teams are treated fairly, Preller got off with a slap on the wrist.
Pomeranz in 2016 was awful after the trade, going 3-5 in 13 starts with a 4.59 ERA and coming off an injury. Damaged goods is the only way to look at it. 2017 brought success Boston’s way as he was able to turn it around with a 17-6 season and a 3.32 ERA in 32 starts with 174 K’s in 173 2/3 innings of work. 2018 was more of the same Pomeranz of old as he went 2-6 with an ERA north of 6.00 and was relegated to the bullpen. Two big moves that thrashed the farm system.
One trade that would be hard to view as a complete bust was the trade for Sale back in 2016. Sale got moved from the White Sox for an All-Star package of prospects including Yoan Moncada, flamethrower Michael Kopech, along with Victor Diaz & Luis Basabe. Diaz hasn’t done anything and Basabe hasn’t done much in Single-A. Kopech spent 2019 on the shelf recovering from TJ surgery and will be ready to rock in 2020.
Moncada was the big prized prospect that changed his Red Socks for White ones that was going to be the largest pending question. Trading away a future All-Star and potential face of the franchise for anything less than a World Series title would have been a bust. Sale helped the Sox win one in 2018. Now the question is, was it worth trading both players away in the short term to affect the long term?
Moncada has quietly put together a great season slashing .301/23/68/9 in 115 games so far in 2019. With the White Sox out of playoff contention, Moncada, like the Red Sox, will hope for a stroke of luck in 2020. One thing is for sure, Kopech, when healthy, and Moncada will make the Sox in the AL Central a team to be nervous about.