During the past week of letting the dust settle from the flurry of trades last Tuesday, I was wondering how long Billy Beane was going to wait until before trading Brett Anderson. We now have the answer as it was just reported that the A’s have shipped the left-hander to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for left-hander Drew Pomeranz and right-hander Chris Jensen.
It almost seems a bit unreal to think Anderson has been at the big league level for five seasons but is still just 25-years-old. When healthy, the Oklahoma native has been a fantastic pitcher, and in my opinion was the most talented starter the A’s had since any of the Big Three. Unfortunately, staying on the mound has proven to be a problem for Andersen with his only full season of starts (30) occurring in his rookie year of 2009.
That season he finished sixth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting with a 4.06 ERA and 1.283 WHIP in 175.1 innings. His numbers were better in 2010 with a 2.80 ERA and 1.193 WHIP, but the injury bug began to rear its ugly head and he was limited to just 19 starts.
Most of his 2011 season, as well as a huge chunk of the 2012 campaign, fell victim to Tommy John surgery in July of 2011. Thinking back, I remember how disappointed I was when Will messaged me on Facebook with the bad news. As my favorite pitcher of the “new bunch” of A’s pitchers of recent years, I was severely disappointed since I’m always skeptical of pitchers coming back from TJ. Even though the procedure is now renown for having an outstanding rate of success, I may as well have written the obituary on his career.
However, he was very effective in his return late in the 2012 season, and his six innings of shutout ball against the Tigers in Game 3 of the 2012 ALDS reminded us of his true potential.
Of course, being an A’s player, Anderson yet again teased us like a jilted lover in 2013. After a rough start to the season he came on in relief in the 18 inning marathon against the Angels on April 29 and threw 5.1 innings of one-run ball to get a hard-fought victory. Unfortunately, he sustained a stress fracture in his foot during the outing, causing him to miss four months of the season. He wasn’t particularly sharp upon his return in late August, but he still made the playoff roster. His only appearance in the ALDS gave us a walk, a wild pitch for a run and a two-run double in the eighth inning of the Game 4 debacle.
There was some speculation that the A’s weren’t going to exercise his $8 million option for 2014, but it made sense given he’s still young and would fetch a decent return in a trade.
While the memory of his July 6, 2009 start at Boston makes it painful for me to say goodbye, his departure was a given that his injury history makes an $8 million investment risky for the thrifty A’s. I suppose this is just another shirshey I’ll have to donate to charity. There has to be a lanky dude in an underdeveloped country with a pretty sweet collection of my old A’s player shirts.
Pomeranz, 25, seems to be the main piece in this deal. The fifth overall pick of the 2010 draft, Pomeranz originally started with the Indians but found himself shipped to Colorado in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade two years ago. He has yet to live up to his prospect ratings, compiling a 5.20 ERA and 1.544 WHIP in 136.2 innings across three big league seasons. He has had considerable success in the minors with a 2.97 career ERA.
Jensen, 23, isn’t a highly-regarded prospect and compiled a 4.55 ERA in 152 1/3 innings at Class-A Advanced Modesto in 2013.
Besides Anderson, the A’s are also kicking in some cash in the deal, according to Jane Lee. I’m sure the first question you’re asking is, “The A’s have cash?” It’s also puzzling when you consider one of the upsides of this deal was shedding Anderson’s contract.
While at first glance it might seem like Anderson was traded for two mediocre hurlers, the fact is the A’s simply couldn’t rely on him staying healthy anymore. At some point, you have to break away from the entrancement of “potential” and move on.