A's & Rockies Swap Enigmatic Lefties

Kiley breaks down one of today's two deals, the Oakland-Colorado swap of talented lefties.

Winter Meetings Links

Scout.com Prospect Rankings Central

Winter Meetings Preview

Winter Meetings Live Blog/Chat

Winter Meetings Day One Wrap-Up

Brett Anderson Trade Breakdown

Mark Trumbo Trade Breakdown

Winter Meetings Day Two Wrap-Up

Colorado receives: LHP Brett Anderson & $2 million

Oakland receives: LHP Drew Pomeranz & RHP Chris Jensen

Oakland made a flurry of moves before the Winter Meetings (covered here) and had a mostly set roster but had some starting pitching depth before signing Scott Kazmir, so looked sure to move one of those arms after adding the lefty last week. Anderson was rumored to be the most available due to his injury past (Tommy John surgery, various foot/ankle and more) and price tag ($8 million in 2014 with $12 million option for 2015). He burst into the big leagues at age 21 flashing #2 starter upside with three above average pitches and above average command from the left side.

Anderson threw 175.1 innings over 30 starts but has only thrown 275.1 innings over four seasons since then. He still has above average command and control along with a well above average 55% career ground ball rate and at least average stuff, you just have to temper expectations with anything over 150 innings counting as a surprise at this point.

It's a solid gamble for the Rockies, who right now are a last place team with some talent but without a ton of free payroll space or starting pitching depth, playing in an extreme hitter's park. Anderson is exactly the kind of pitcher they should be targeting: buy-low, high-upside arms with above average command and ground ball rates that doesn't rely on a curveball (altitude can affect the break) and has an option to capture more value in case they stumble into a legitimate asset. Particularly in a market where retreads with no upside like Bartolo Colon are commanding and getting eight figures, moves like this show some creativity in Colorado to prop up the pitching staff while blue chip arms Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler move closer to the big leagues

This is more of the last move in a flurry of moves for Oakland, moving some payroll and a spare arm, looking to get some upside and controllable years in return. The 6'5/240 Pomeranz is the prize here; Jensen is just a throw-in as a starter in High-A with average stuff that could be a swingman or middle reliever at best. Pomeranz was the 5th overall pick in the 2010 Draft out of Ole Miss by Cleveland as a supposedly quick-moving lefty with above average stuff and a knockout plus curveball. As has happened with some other highly-ranked arms whose best pitch was a curveball, Pomeranz's stuff has backed up since signing and his command hasn't been enough to keep his head above water in big league auditions.

There has been some buzz that Colorado's extreme offensive environments (Denver for MLB and Colorado Springs for AAA) had gotten in his head and Pomeranz was a good candidate for a change of scenery. His stuff is still solid average and his overall AAA numbers are strong, but the changeup hasn't progressed and righties are torching him. The hope here is that Oakland can make some adjustments in a low-stress environment in AAA and either get a league average starter or cut their losses and move Pomeranz to relief where he could shine in shorter stints.

Oakland Clubhouse Top Stories