At least one team has shown interest in left-hander Drew Pomeranz this offseason, but the Red Sox haven’t made him available, reports Rob Bradford of WEEI (Twitter link). Boston subtracted from its starting depth by trading Clay Buchholz to the Phillies on Tuesday, though it still has six quality options in Chris Sale, David Price, AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello, Pomeranz, Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright. It’s unclear which member of the Pomeranz-Rodriguez-Wright trio will be the odd man out of the rotation to begin next season. While Pomeranz has plenty of relief experience, he was also among the majors’ top starters as a member of the Padres during the first half of 2016. That led the Red Sox to send highly regarded pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza to San Diego in July, but the deal hasn’t yet gone as planned for Boston. Pomeranz wasn’t healthy down the stretch, which caused plenty of controversy, and logged a 4.59 ERA despite a 9.36 K/9 and 3.15 BB/9 in 68 2/3 innings with the Sox.
More from the majors’ East divisions:
- Free agent right-hander Aaron Barrett is drawing interest, including from the Nationals, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Twitter link). The 28-year-old reliever has thus far spent his entire career with Washington, which chose him in the ninth round of the 2009 draft, and has posted a 3.47 ERA, 10.8 K/9 and 3.47 BB/9 in 70 major league innings. Injuries have derailed Barrett of late, unfortunately, as he missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in September 2015. He then fractured his elbow last July and needed a second surgery.
- Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda’s numbers were “mind-boggling” last season, manager Joe Girardi told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Although he finished seventh among starters in K-BB percentage (20.4), Pineda recorded the majors’ seventh-worst ERA (4.82) across a career-high 175 2/3 innings. Along with the sport’s fourth-highest home run-to-fly ball ratio (17 percent), Pineda surrendered a .339 batting average on balls in play and a bloated .406 mark with two outs. “The average of batted balls in play off of him with two outs [.406] — it just doesn’t make sense,” said Girardi. “You look for reasons. Believe me, we’ll look; I’m sure we’ll look a long time this winter.” Pineda’s issues in 2016 weren’t a first-time occurrence – despite a 20.2 K-BB percentage, he also underwhelmed in run prevention (4.37 ERA), BABIP (.332) and homers (14.7 percent HR/FB ratio) in 2015. He’s now entering a contract year and, along with Masahiro Tanaka and C.C. Sabathia, is one of just three Yankees with significant major league experience from the rotation.
- With outfielders Ender Inciarte, Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis in possession of starting spots, the Braves are leaning toward having Mallex Smith begin 2017 with Triple-A Gwinnett, writes Mark Bowman of MLB.com. “[Smith] is a talented player, but he still needs more development,” president of baseball operations John Hart said. “At the same point, Mallex is interesting because he can do a lot of things for you. He can [play] all three outfield positions and he can run. But the question we are asking ourselves is, ’Are we doing him a disservice and ultimately ourselves a disservice by making him a role or bench player?'” The 23-year-old Smith factored heavily into Atlanta’s lineup during the first half of last season, but he fractured his left thumb in June and didn’t return until September. All told, the speedy Smith hit .238/.316/.365 with three home runs and 16 steals in 215 plate appearances as a rookie. The Orioles reportedly asked for Smith in exchange for reliever Brad Brach earlier this month, but the Braves turned them down.