Rob Bradford of WEEI is reporting that the Red Sox are planning on promoting Aaron Cook to the majors. The decision is today, he’d actually arrive in the next few days. The key here is that if he wasn’t on the big league roster today — or if he didn’t have an agreement in place with the Red Sox to make that happen as of today — Cook could opt-out.
Cook has been killing ’em in Pawtucket, going 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA in five starts. His success down there has led to some trade rumors of late, but the Sox have apparently decided that he can help them more in Boston for now.
But how does he help? Who does he replace in the rotation? The two who were most expected to have trouble this year and thus require relief from Cook were Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard, but they’re doing fine. Beckett and Lester aren’t going anyplace. I suppose Clay Buchholz is the most vulnerable right now, but really, one bad stretch won’t cost him his job, will it?
Bobby V. could go six-man rotation here. Or he could skip Bard once or twice, giving Cook starts and allowing Bard to be a true swingman. Or he could just use Cook out of the pen, though his low strikeout rate seems problematic for that.
But it’s better to have too many arms than not enough, yes?
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.