Boston Red Sox Have A Starting Pitching Decision And Pomeranz Is Fighting For His Spot
The Boston Red Sox have pitching depth, a luxury so few teams have and the ones who do often forget to appreciate. The Red Sox have six legitimate MLB starters for five spots in the starting rotation.
They have Rick Porcello, David Price, Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright, and Drew Pomeranz. Just in case that wasn’t enough the team has MLB experienced depth starters of Joe Kelly and Roenis Elias along with a couple of prospects who could surprise the team in Brian Johnson and Henry Owens.
Realistically lets stick with the first six that were mentioned, of those six, three are an absolute lock in Porcello, Price, and Sale. Rodriguez is a mortal lock as well depending on his health. Interestingly enough the two guys who the last spot could come down to happen to be All-Stars last season in Wright and Pomeranz. Wright was a CY Young candidate before he went down with an injury after John Farrell boneheadly sent his All-Star pitcher in to pinch-run for David Ortiz. But the knuckleballer can be unpredictable and he either has it or he doesn’t
The center focus of this article though is on the relative unknown of Drew Pomeranz, a pitcher that has spent the majority of his career pitching out of the bullpen for teams that have had no shot of playing October baseball.
John Farrell has admitted the team has a variety of options when it comes to filling out their five man starting rotation, with a player like Pomeranz who has bullpen experience it might make more sense to stick him out there. But he doesn’t see it that way, in fact he thinks he is only going to get better following up his All-Star campaign.
“I’m confident enough in myself,” Pomeranz said. “People say bullpen, whatever. I made the All-Star team as a starter, not as a reliever. I had a good year as a reliever the year before and maybe I can fall back in 10 years, hopefully. Right now I just feel like this is the beginning for me.
“Look at my first half last year. I was one of the top few in the National League. Why would I want to go to the bullpen. Just because I’ve done well people are going to say, ‘He should go to the bullpen. He would be better there.’ At the end of the day I’m here to help the team no matter what, but I fought my way back to being a starter and I’m not going to give up on it very easily.”
Pomeranz has been battling to become a starter for his entire career, last year in spring training he was sick of waiting around after broken promises so he sat down with San Diego manager Andy Green and in turn allowed Pomeranz to get his first real shot at being a starter.
“Last year was just kind of a fight all around for me,” he said. “I got to the point where I want it so bad, I thought we understood each other and clearly we didn’t understand. From that point forward if I had anything I didn’t understand I could walk into his office and say, ‘What’s going on?’ and he was honest with me.
“I’ve done this long enough that I feel like I know what I need to do to be successful and it’s kind of frustrating sometimes. You want things to go one way and they don’t, you have to keep yourself motivated. Fight for what you want. This game is a fight. No one is going to hand you anything. You have to go out and get what you want. That just kick-started the whole year for me, and maybe my career.”
Pomeranz needed that meeting, without that meeting he understands he would have likely never been an All-Star. His decision to decide and fight for more innings as a starter is one Red Sox fans can admire and hope to see from him in Boston.
“What we had discussed was I was coming in as a starter and at the end of camp if I didn’t get a spot I would go to the bullpen. That was my understanding,” he remembered. “Then when they put the charts up and it said one inning, and day off, and then ‘Pomeranz one inning’ I was like, ‘What’s going on here?’ You’ve been around long enough to know if you’re being groomed as a starter or a reliever.
“I asked him and he said, ‘There’s definitely innings available to give you a chance to start.’ I told him, ‘I want it. I’m going for it. If you decide at the end of camp that I’m not good enough than you can put me in the bullpen.’ Immediately they gave me more innings. They changed the chart that day to put me at two innings and I got back on that progression.”
In theory the Boston Red Sox have several options for the final starting rotation spot if all the pitchers are healthy, a task that may sound easier said than done. Pomeranz’s will to fight and the recognition that nothing is given in sports and you have to earn it is the right mindset he can have going into this season.
“You go every year fighting for a spot, and this year is a little different because I had a really good year and figured some things out,” Pomeranz said. “I’m coming into camp in the position I want to be in and am able to take it a little slower. I think it’s a good thing because it will keep me more rested. I think it will only benefit me, the position I’m in.”