When Dave Dombrowski was hired to be the Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations, it was because he had a reputation of being an aggressive wheeler-dealer not afraid to make a move if necessary, and because the team was in a ‘win now’ mode after a disappointing 2015 season and this being the final season of David Ortiz’ career. In the last week, he has added infielder Aaron Hill, utility man Michael Martinez, and reliever Brad Ziegler in three separate trades, and with the second half of the season about to begin and the Sox two games behind the AL East leading Baltimore Orioles, Dombrowski pulled the trigger on another deal to help his starting rotation, trading vaunted 18-year-old pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza to the San Diego Padres for first-time All-Star lefty Drew Pomeranz.

Pomeranz, 27, is in the midst of the best season of his career, and if it continues, his presence could stabilize a rotation that is 19th in the majors in ERA (4.72), and the back-end starters have struggled behind ace David Price, knuckleballer Steven Wright, and righty Rick Porcello. This will be the fourth time Pomeranz has been traded since he was drafted by Cleveland in 2010, who traded him to Colorado for Ubaldo Jimenez. The Rockies later traded him to Oakland for lefty Brett Anderson, and the A’s traded him to the Padres this offseason for the cheap price of Yonder Alonso and Marc Rzepczynski, and entered the All-Star break with an 8-7 record, 2.47 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 115 strikeouts in 102 innings over 17 starts. He added a cutter to his arsenal in the offseason, which has been largely responsible for his breakout.
He’s also not eligible for free agency until 2018, so if he continues his hot start, the Red Sox could have a reliable, cheap starter for the next two seasons.

Dombrowski has demonstrated a willingness to trade prospects. Last November, in fact, he acquired closer Craig Kimbrel from the Padres for four minor leaguers, including touted outfielder Manuel Margot and infielder Javier Guerra. But Espinoza was widely regarded as the Red Sox’s top pitching prospect and third-best prospect overall behind second baseman Yoan Moncada and center fielder Andrew Benintendi, both of whom are playing at the Double-A level and could conceivably reach the big leagues later this season before Ortiz exits the stage.

Espinoza is still years away from the majors. And after dominating the rookie-level Gulf Coast League with a 0.68 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 40 innings last season, he has struggled against older competition in the low-A South Atlantic League. In 17 starts for Greenville, he has notched a 4.38 ERA and given up 77 hits and 27 walks in 76 innings. The Padres were able to leverage the seller’s market for pitching to pry an elite prospect from the Red Sox, helped by Pomeranz’ team friendly rookie contract.

While it might have been easy for Pomeranz to go unnoticed in San Diego, it will be interesting to see how he performs on the big stage in Boston, with the offensive power of the teams of the AL East. Either he will reveal his first half to have been a fluke, or the Sox will have gotten a major contributor as they look to make the playoffs and give Ortiz a proper sendoff before he leaves for good.

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