The Athletics and Rockies are testing the "change of scenery" theory: Oakland has shipped lefty Brett Anderson to Colorado in exchange for southpaw Drew Pomeranz and right-hander Chris Jensen.
Once one of the best young pitchers in the majors, 25 year old Anderson has been downed by injury the last three seasons, missing portions of '11 and '12 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. His ankle was the problem in '13, limiting him to 44.2 innings, resulting in a 6.04 ERA and 51 hits allowed, with a 46/21 K/BB ratio. The Rockies hope that his ground ball tendencies will play well in Coors Field and a new team and league could help him regain his lost stature.
The Athletics hope that the same shakeup will help Pomeranz. Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the first round in 2010 from the University of Mississippi, he came to Colorado in the 2011 Ubaldo Jimenez deal. Pomeranz has been effective in the minors but has been unable to establish himself in the majors, with a 5.20 ERA and a 4-14 record in 30 major league starts, with a 115/70 K/BB in 137 innings. He can get up to 95 MPH but erratic command holds him back.
The third player in the deal is right-hander Chris Jensen, who was drafted by the Rockies in the sixth round in 2011 from the University of San Diego. Age 23, he posted a 4.55 ERA with a 136/39 K/BB in 162 innings for High-A Modesto in the California League in '13. Jensen is a 6-4, 200 pounder with a low-90s fastball, a slurve, and a splitter. He throws strikes and has been very durable in pro ball, although he has been generally projected as a reliever at higher levels due to his stiff delivery.
ANALYSIS: Well, why not? Both Anderson and Pomeranz might improve with a fresh start and a new system. Anderson has a better track record when healthy, but it has been three years since he's been that way. Pomeranz is a talented enigma, and while Jensen is a stereotyped Grade C prospect, he will eat some innings in the high minors and has an outside chance as a fifth starter or bullpen asset.
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