In a rather tame start to the Winter Meetings, the Athletics sent left-hander Brett Anderson to the Rockies for southpaw Drew Pomeranz and prospect Chris Jensen on Tuesday. The deal was first reported by FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
It's a step in the right direction for the Rockies, who have struggled to develop or find starting pitching since the team's inaugural season in 1993. Just two winters ago, the Rockies acquired a pair of pitchers -- right-hander Guillermo Moscoso and lefty Josh Outman -- from the Athletics in exchange for outfielder Seth Smith. The following season, Moscoso made three starts with a 6.12 ERA while Outman made seven starts with a 8.19 ERA. Outman pitched well in a relief role this season, but Moscoso has since bounced around with short stints on the Royals, Blue Jays, Cubs and Giants.
Anderson doesn't come without his own warts (most notably a lengthy list of injuries), but the 25-year-old is exactly the kind of pitcher Colorado should be targeting: a high-upside starter -- albeit one with high risk -- whose stuff could translate favorably in Coors Field. The price, essentially, was Pomeranz, a former first-round pick whom the Rockies acquired when they sent a struggling and unhappy Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland. Pomeranz spent the majority of the season in Triple-A and missed additional time with right shoulder inflammation, so he was less likely to help Colorado in 2014.
Anderson, meanwhile, appeared in 16 games and made five starts for Oakland this season, going 1-4 with a 6.04 ERA and 46:21 K:BB ratio in 46 2/3 innings. After returning from Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2012, Anderson missed a big chunk of the season with a sprained right ankle and stress fracture in his right foot. Oakland signed left-hander Scott Kazmir to a two-year, $22 million deal earlier this offseason, making the oft-injured Anderson expendable.
Anderson owns a 3.81 ERA (3.56 FIP; 3.52 FIP) in 450 2/3 career innings, including 357 strikeouts and 120 walks, or a 2.98 K/BB ratio. While Coors Field is a value killer to any starting pitcher, Anderson could find some success with a career ground ball rate of 54.9 percent. His ground ball tendencies have been even more extreme in recent seasons, including 62.9 percent this season and 59.8 in 2012. You do, however, have to take into consideration the small sample size of the last two years.
You have to wonder how Anderson's pitching repertoire will fare in Denver's high altitude. His fastball generally sits in the 90-92 mph range, and his best pitch, the slider, probably won't be affected too much in Colorado, according to this study by Baseball Prospectus' Dan Rozenson.
With the switch to Colorado, Anderson's overall value drops. Those who take a chance on him should invest nothing more than a late-round pick. Given his medical history, expecting more than 140-150 innings out of Anderson is unwise. And with little strikeout upside, it's probably best to take a wait-and-see approach here. It's too bad; in almost any other situation, I would have taken a shot on Anderson coming back to fantasy relevance.
- Fantasy Top 5 for 2014: Colorado Rockies
- Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 75 Starting Pitchers for 2014
- Fantasy Top 5 - Arizona Diamondbacks
- Fantasy Football: Week 15 Waiver Wire and More
- MLB Trade Rumors: Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks
- Deep League Debate: Elvis Andrus vs. Zack Cozart
- MLB Trade Rumors: Diamondbacks in on Shin-Soo Choo