Pomeranz, 25, has big league experience; Jensen started at Class A in 2013
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Dealing from a position of strength, the A's parted ways with Brett Anderson on Tuesday afternoon, trading the lefty to Colorado in exchange for a pair of pitchers on Day 2 of the Winter Meetings.
Oakland landed former Indians first-round Draft pick Drew Pomeranz in a deal that also brought in Minor League right-hander Chris Jensen, a teammate of pitcher A.J. Griffin's at the University of San Diego.
Prospect acquired by Athletics
Chris Jensen, RHP: A sixth-round pick out of the University of San Diego in 2011, Jensen spent much of his college career as a reliever but has been used solely as a starter as a pro. The 23-year-old reached high Class A in 2013, going 5-8, 4.55 with a 136-39 K-BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings in the hitter-friendly California League. His stuff improved last season, when he consistently threw strikes, featuring a low-90s fastball with some life, a decent changeup and a fringy curveball. He has a ceiling as a back-of-the-rotation starter but could wind up in middle relief.
In addition, the A's sent $2 million to the Rockies to offset Anderson's $8 million salary, according to a club source.
Pomeranz, who turned 25 less than three weeks ago, has relief experience but will be in the mix to join an Oakland rotation that already has six other members: newcomer Scott Kazmir and holdovers Jarrod Parker, Sonny Gray, A.J. Griffin, Dan Straily and Tommy Milone. He isn't eligible for arbitration until 2016.
"We had a lot of starting pitching, and in the acquisition of Pomeranz, it allows us to turn back the clock a little with another very talented left-hander," said A's general manager Billy Beane. "Brett's been with us for several years, and someone, obviously, with that kind of talent, we think very highly of, but with the amount of guys we have, we could use that to get younger guys with less service time, and that was attractive."
For these reasons, trading the oft-injured Anderson always seemed inevitable, and perhaps the last big item on Oakland's offseason to-do list in advance of the club's quest to resume its position atop the American League West. It was Beane's fourth trade in nine days.
"Brett's a great talent and certainly had his moments of brilliance," Beane said. "From the Rockies' end, they're probably getting him at a great time, because the cost of acquisition a couple of years ago on Brett, well there really wasn't one. He was an untouchable. We've gone through the years and built up a rotation, and the hard thing initially was trying to find a way to live without him, and then we found a way, with such an abundance of pitching."
The Rockies have long coveted Anderson, and they entered talks with the A's about a week ago. Though talks slowed because of concern about Anderson's injury history -- particularly his right foot -- discussions resumed Monday evening and picked up heavy traction Tuesday morning.
The A's only were interested in dealing an arm if it meant getting at least one in return, and in Pomeranz they have a 6-foot-5 lefty whom Beane described as a "big, physical power guy."
Sent to Colorado in 2011 as part of the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, Pomeranz never panned out for the Rockies, struggling with command issues -- he posted a 5.20 ERA in 34 big league appearances with 115 strikeouts against 70 walks in 136 2/3 innings -- with the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field for a home ballpark.
He also dealt with a variety of ailments, undergoing an appendectomy in 2011 in advance of his big league debut, and spending time on the disabled list in 2013 with left biceps tendinitis.
But Beane sees plenty of upside in Pomeranz, who finished the season with four scoreless relief appearances.
"Let's face it," Beane said. "Colorado is a different environment, but going back to his college days -- I saw him at Ole Miss -- he performed as you'd want, a top-five pick right off the bat. Colorado is a very unique environment for pitchers. He's only 25, and a lot of people still think very highly of his abilities, and we felt it was a good time to acquire him.
"We had an overabundance of Major League starting pitchers, and this was a great way to backload at that position in the organization."
"It's a good feeling to know they wanted me there," Pomeranz said. "That's why this trade happened. It makes me feel good to know they wanted me there. I'm excited to be there and see what it has in store for me."
Jensen, meanwhile, has posted a 19-12 record and 4.22 ERA in 61 starts in the Minors. Colorado's sixth-round pick in the 2011 Draft out of the University of San Diego, he went 5-8 with a 4.55 ERA in 28 starts for Class A Modesto last season.