LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 07: Drew Pomeranz #13 of the San Diego Padres pitches to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on July 7, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

We’re still over two weeks away from the MLB trade deadline (July 31), but the Boston Red Sox have already made a significant move to improve their playoff chances, and to improve their chances of winning in the playoffs should they get there.

The Red Sox acquired left-handed starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz from the San Diego Padres for 18-year-old right-hander Anderson Espinoza.

Espinoza — who’s been the youngest player in the Single-A South Atlantic League — ranked 15th on Baseball America’s midseason Top-100 prospects, so the Red Sox had to give up a great prospect to get this deal done. But, it’s very understandable why Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski was willing to pay that price to land Pomeranz.

The Boston starting rotation ranks 19th in the majors in ERA (4.72) and 21st in FIP (4.53). The 6’5″, 240-pound Pomeranz has an ERA of 2.47 (4th in MLB) and FIP of 3.18 (9th in MLB). He features one of the nastiest curveballs in the game, and has added a cutter this year that has made him particularly tough on right-handed hitters (.171/.250/.296 against).

This also isn’t an “all-in for 2016” rental; Pomeranz is under team control through 2018, so Boston will get two more seasons of the 27-year-old.

Additionally, the Red Sox are loaded with young talent. Mookie Betts (23), Xander Bogaerts (23), and Jackie Bradley Jr. (26) all rank in the top-11 for American League position-player WAR per FanGraphs. Second base prospect Yoan Moncada (1) and outfield prospect Andrew Benintendi (9) rank ahead of Espinoza on the aforementioned Baseball America top prospect list. So, while you don’t just give away young talent, the Red Sox had the luxury of being able to part with one of these great young talents to upgrade their MLB roster. And, again, they still get two more seasons of Pomeranz after this season.

Now, there are still some question marks with Pomeranz in terms of being able to keep this success up, especially because he’s already approaching a career-high for innings thrown in a professional season (this is already the most he’s thrown in a single major-league season).

As for the “Yeah, but he pitched at Petco Park” stuff that you may hear regarding Pomeranz, well, there really isn’t much to that:

The Red Sox add Pomeranz to a rotation that includes David Price, Steven Wright,  Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez. All of a sudden, their rotation looks pretty solid, and the offense has been the best in baseball. The AL East has appeared to be up for grabs, but the Red Sox are now looking like at least slight favorites.

As for the Padres, kudos to them for accepting what they are and selling high on Pomeranz. San Diego is a few years away from winning, and getting a top-15 prospect for a guy that was unlikely to be a part of your team — or at least on the decline — when it’s ready to contend is a fantastic move.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.