Photo Credit: AP Photo / Charles Krup
What more do we need? The latest is the potential bad news as Drew Pomeranz leaves a start with a forearm issue. Looking for some good news? Options exist.
With pitching the news always seems negative and the latest issue to send a shudder through Red Sox Nation is the exit of left-hander Drew Pomeranz from a spring training start with left forearm tightness. A tweak in the spring is usually nothing to be overly concerned about, but with Pomeranz, a history is there. In 2017 Pomeranz missed a few starts over health issues and in 2016 pitching health questions were also present.
Pomeranz has never racked up a series of seasons with 200+ innings pitched. Last season was a career high with 173.2 innings tossed on way to a surprising 17-6 record. Pomeranz’s 3.32 ERA may be a bit questionable via advanced metrics, but his value to the team is of utmost concern. This latest may have answered a question posed by fellow contributor Cody Collins regarding extending Pomeranz.
The Red Sox rotation is one big question mark based on the issue of health. Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez are still in the recovery stage from knee surgery. David Price is also an unknown based on his elbow/forearm issues of last season. Now Pomeranz has been added to the list of potential injuries.
This situation is most certainly being closely watched by the Red Sox and with an equal degree by the agents for Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn. If the situation for Pomeranz is critical Boston may have to move forward into the free agent market to fill a rotation abyss.
Even if Pomeranz gets a clean medical report the scare is there for a rotation that is as fragile as a grass hut during a category five hurricane. Does anyone need any more heart palpitations following the ongoing rotation drama?
Cobb and Lynn will not be cheap as both will certainly demand at least a four-year deal with appropriate monetary compensation. Each may be in the $12-15 MM range per season. Consequently, both Lynn and Cobb returned from Tommy John Surgery in 2017 and had reasonably successful performances. My personal preference would be Cobb based on his Fenway Park performance, his American League East experience and an attractive 2.6 BB/9 for the righty’s career.
The unsigned free agent star list also includes another right-hander of note – Jake Arrieta. Arrieta’s win totals are decreasing and his negative metrics are increasing since his 2015 Cy Young season. Arrieta is in the process of seeking a bit more financial reward and Boston may be shy based on an already top payroll in baseball.
And payroll is an object that cannot be ignored. Would Boston attempt to hold the fiscal line? The internal options are quite shallow with Brian Johnson, Hector Velázquez, Roenis Elias and anyone else in the system who has managed to start a few games either here or elsewhere.
The Red Sox could also explore the secondary market but based on what is left it is like finding an eatable seed after a swarm of locust has had their fill. No, folks, it looks like the best option is to pay up now even if Pomeranz is 100%. Insurance costs and the Red Sox need rotation insurance.