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Red Sox acquire All-Star lefthander Drew Pomeranz from Padres

Drew Pomeranz, 27, was 8-7 with a 2.47 ERA with the Padres.Harry How/Getty Images

NEW YORK — When the Red Sox jumped the trade market on starting pitchers and obtained All-Star lefthander Drew Pomeranz from the San Diego Padres on Thursday, the price was high.

The Sox gave up their best pitching prospect, wildly talented 18-year-old righthander Anderson Espinoza. But president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski didn’t want to miss a chance to fill the biggest need on his roster.

With as many as 10 teams interested in Pomeranz, Dombrowski needed to act quickly.

“In a case in which the demand exceeds the supply, which definitely is the case in this situation, I’m not sure that you don’t take a greater risk in waiting,” he said.


In the 11 months he has been in charge, Dombrowski has shown he’s no bystander. Thursday’s trade was the fourth he made in the last eight days.

Pomeranz is scheduled to start on Wednesday against San Francisco at Fenway Park. One other benefit of acting now: Pomeranz will get three starts before the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline.

Pomeranz, 27, is 8-7 with a 2.47 earned run average in 17 starts for San Diego. He is averaging a healthy 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings with a 48-percent groundball rate. In 102 innings, he has allowed only 67 hits but has walked 41.

Pomeranz has lasted six or more innings 11 times and allowed three or fewer earned runs in all but two of his starts.

“There were only a couple of pitchers that we thought had a chance to be available that we thought would substantially upgrade us in our rotation,” Dombrowski said.

Pomeranz pitched a scoreless inning in the All-Star Game in Tuesday.

The fifth overall pick of the 2010 draft, Pomeranz struggled for several years and was relegated to the bullpen for a time. The Padres saw him as a reliever when he was obtained from the Athletics in December, but Pomeranz lobbied manager Andy Green for a chance to start and ran with the opportunity.


“That’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to go after what you want,” he said Monday in San Diego.

The addition of a cut fastball gave Pomeranz the three-pitch mix needed to be successful as a starter. He previously relied on an above-average curveball as a secondary pitch.

“I tried to throw it in the past. It didn’t work for some reason,” Pomeranz said. “I was playing catch with a guy a few weeks before spring training, and he said something that made sense to me.

“I worked on it really hard in spring training.It’s getting to the point where now it’s a real weapon for me.”

Said Dombrowski: “Sometimes it takes time for guys to find themselves. He found himself in the bullpen with Oakland and this year he just took it to another level.”

This is the fourth time Pomeranz has been traded since 2011.

Pomeranz has only $625,000 remaining on his contract for this season and is under team control through 2018, adding to his value.

“I don’t know if [control] was a priority. It was helpful,” said Dombrowski, who noted the Red Sox should be able to go into the offseason knowing at least four-fifths of their rotation for 2017.

There are red flags. Pomeranz already has thrown more innings than he ever has in a major league season. His high for an entire season, counting the minors, is 146⅔ innings. Dombrowski said that would be a greater concern if Pomeranz were younger.


“We think he can go out there and throw a lot of innings,” he said.

Pomeranz also is going from a pitcher-friendly environment in the National League West to the harsher climate of the AL East.

Espinoza entered the season ranked fourth among prospects in the Red Sox organization and among the top 40 in the game. Despite a relatively small frame for a righthander at 6-foot, 185 pounds, Espinoza had 137 strikeouts over 134⅓ innings over two seasons. His fastball sits at 95 miles per hour and he throws a plus curveball.

As the youngest player in the South Atlantic League, Espinoza was 5-8 with a 4.38 ERA in 17 starts for Single A Greenville.

“I’d rather trade three other type guys than Anderson. But that wasn’t appealing to San Diego,” Dombrowski said. “We still protected a lot of our quality prospects.”

Trading such a high-ceiling pitching prospect is rarely ideal, but the Sox were in desperate need of rotation help with the season restarting on Friday after the All-Star break.

Dombrowski started negotiations with San Diego three weeks ago. Talks picked up on Tuesday when Padres general manager A.J. Preller called Dombrowski.

Outside of David Price, Steven Wright and Rick Porcello, Sox starters have a 7.22 ERA in 33 games. Without improvement, the Sox risked wasting a lineup on pace to score more than 900 runs in David Ortiz’s final season.


In rapid fashion, Dombrowski added two bench players (Aaron Hill and Michael Martinez), a premium reliever (Brad Ziegler) and now a starter.

“We’ve really been able to address our major needs at this point,” Dombrowski said.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Pomeranz, infielder Josh Rutledge was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. He has been out since June 15 with left knee tendinitis.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.