Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz is a year from the open market — a reality that comes with added concern when viewed against the backdrop of the current free-agent landscape — but he tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he’s more focused on the upcoming season than anything else. “Obviously, I know I’m a free agent at the end of the year and I want to have a good year,” says Pomeranz. “…I’m just worried about picking up where I left off and kind of continuing to get better every year like I have every year of my career.” Pomeranz is no stranger to the business of baseball, having been traded four times in his young career as he struggled to establish himself as a quality big leaguer. Since coming to Boston, though, he’s pitched to a 3.68 ERA with 9.1 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 in 242 1/3 innings. Pomeranz says his biggest goal in 2018 is to get quicker outs so that he can work deeper into games. Doing so would almost certainly allow him to establish a new career-high in innings pitched; Pomeranz tossed 170 innings in 2016 and a career-best 173 1/3 frames in 2017.
Elsewhere in the division…
- While the Orioles have been in touch with the majority of free-agent starters available, they’re content to wait out the market for now to see if they can ultimately secure some rotation help on shorter-term deals, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. Owner Peter Angelos is wary of locking in another four-year deal just months after Ubaldo Jimenez’s four-year, $50MM landmine is finally off the books, he adds. Crasnick lists Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Jason Vargas, Andrew Cashner and Chris Tillman as some of the many possibilities on whom the O’s have been keeping tabs.
- Aledmys Diaz tells Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith that he informed the Cardinals early in the offseason that he’d prefer to be traded if the team couldn’t find more regular at-bats for him in St. Louis. The Cards obliged that wish, though the trade that sent Diaz to the Blue Jays doesn’t necessarily create an immediate path to regular playing time, either. Diaz, though, spent much of the 2017 season in the minors, and it seems certain that the Jays envision him as a big league piece to at least fill a reserve capacity. “It’ll be nice to look down the bench and see a little more firepower,” said manager John Gibbons of the additions of Diaz and Yangervis Solarte. Indeed, that duo should be a more productive pairing than Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney, each of whom signed minor league deals elsewhere this offseason. And, with a pair of injury question marks up the middle in the form of Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis, it’s certainly not difficult to see Diaz and Solarte both getting their fair share of reps in 2018 with Toronto.
- Masahiro Tanaka again spoke about his decision to forgo his opt-out clause and return to the Yankees (link via Newsday’s Erik Boland). While Tanaka acknowledged that there were likely other possibilities for him in free agency, the righty doesn’t sound as if he ever gave serious consideration to testing the open market. “…[T]he important thing for me was to follow what my heart was saying, and that’s what I did,” said Tanaka. The right-hander, of course, now looks like he may have been well-served to remain with the Yankees, as nearly every starting pitcher that hit the open market this offseason remains unsigned, with a few exceptions (e.g. Tyler Chatwood, Jhoulys Chacin). “[Y]ou would never know it was going to turn into something like this,” said Tanaka of the stagnant market. Tanaka also spoke about his early struggles in 2017 and spoke about the disappointment over Shohei Ohtani’s decision to sign with the Angels, as well as his excitement to face his countryman down the line.