My team, like many others, is in contention right now, and we need a starting pitcher. The options out there include Rich Hill, Jeremy Hellickson and perhaps Sonny Gray. But if I was to make a trade right now for a player that I want to not only pitch me to the postseason but pitch for me in the postseason, I would be picking up the phone and dialing the San Diego Padres.
Drew Pomeranz is the guy I'm interested in. He's 6-foot, 5-inches, left-handed and just 27 years old. He's also having a breakout season in San Diego, having gone 8-7 with a 2.47 ERA in 102 innings pitched over 17 starts during the first half.
I'd want Pomeranz for a few reasons.
1. Contract Status
Pomeranz is not a free agent until after the 2018 season, giving my team the rest of this season as well as two more seasons to contend with him in my rotation. This year, in particular, Pomeranz does not cost much. He avoided arbitration with San Diego in the offseason, and they only had to pay him $1.35 million.
A client of Beverly Hills Sports Council, Pomeranz may also want to do an extension with my team when the time comes. According to the Extension Tracker at MLBTradeRumors.com, BHSC has done plenty of pre-free agency extensions in the past, most recently negotiating for Francisco Cervelli, Gregory Polanco and Salvador Perez in their new deals.
2. Statistical Sustainability
Pomeranz has seen the best performances of his career this season, but some would argue that he's been helped from pitching in PETCO Park, one of the league's most notorious pitcher's parks. This cannot be denied, however, his ERA+, which adjusts for park and league factors is still extremely high at 161. This means that his ERA of 2.47 is still 61 percent better than league average, even when taking into consideration a high percentage of his starts will come at PETCO.
Pomeranz's FIP and xFIP both suggest that his ERA may be a bit too good to be true, but they're definitely not suggesting he's been a bad pitcher by any means. Pomeranz has a 3.18 FIP and a 3.66 xFIP, which rank 9th and 21st in the Major Leagues, respectively.
One thing to caution for Pomeranz, however, is his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) against. His career .271 mark is already below the league-normal of .300, but this season his BABIP against sits at .240. An explanation for this may be because Pomeranz is becoming harder to hit by upping his two-seam fastball and off-speed usage (especially with his knuckle-curve), as he has not seen his soft contact against rates change off his career average.
3. Age and durability
Pomeranz, at just 27, is more likely to provide quality innings down the stretch as opposed to some of the other options out there.
For instance, Rich Hill, a rental to begin with, is 36, and while he also pitching well, he already spent time on the disabled list earlier this season. My team does not want a player that may struggle to stay healthy as we try to make a run down the stretch.
With that said, however, Pomeranz has had his injury history as well. He went on the disabled list last year with shoulder tightness, and then later in the year, he returned after punching a chair in frustration. Other than that, he has generally remained healthy for most of his career. This season, he's showed off his health by throwing 100+ pitches in nine of his 17 starts.
This year's starting pitching trade market is weak. Pomeranz won't come cheap, that's for sure. His value has never been higher, and he just got to go to the All-Star Game. But if I really needed a starting pitcher, I'd be punching in the number of San Diego right about now.