In a swap of high-potential left-handed starters, the Oakland A's traded Brett Anderson to the Colorado Rockies for Drew Pomeranz, sources told Yahoo Sports. Oakland also received right-handed prospect Chris Jensen and will send cash back to Colorado.
While injuries have limited the 25-year-old Anderson to 43 games started over the last four seasons, scouts believe he still has front-of-the-rotation ability thanks to well-above-average command and one of the game's best sliders. A lingering foot injury limited Anderson to five starts and relegated him to a bullpen role last season, and the year before he started five games after recovering from Tommy John surgery. Over five seasons with Oakland, Anderson is 26-29 with a 3.81 ERA and a 2.98-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, one of the best among active starters.
The Rockies believe they are a piece or two away from contending in the National League West – their pursuit of a closer remains strong – and Anderson fills out a rotation that should include Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge de la Rosa, Juan Nicasio and Tyler Chatwood. In addition, the Rockies have two of the best pitching prospects in baseball in hard-throwing right-handers Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler.
Oakland's rotation surplus and Anderson's $8 million salary (with a $12 million team option that includes a $1.5 million buyout for 2015) prompted the A's to put him on the trade market, and a deal accelerated Tuesday morning after a meeting between A's GM Billy Beane and Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd. Toronto, the New York Yankees, Atlanta and a handful of other teams pursued Anderson before the A's settled on a package around Pomeranz.
The 25-year-old Pomeranz, chosen fifth overall in the 2010 draft out of Ole Miss, now has been traded twice. He was the main piece going back to Colorado when it shipped Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland, and in parts of three seasons with the Rockies, he went 4-14 with a 5.20 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 136 2/3 innings. Jensen, 23, has thrown nearly 300 innings over two Class A levels the last two seasons. He has a 4.22 ERA and has struck out 259 over 334 2/3 innings while walking 99 and allowing 30 home runs.