Should the Colorado Rockies trade for Brett Anderson?


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Drew Pomeranz and Brett Anderson are the same age (25 years old). They are both left-handed and they were both highly touted prospects upon their arrival to the Major Leagues. There is one big difference between these two starting pitchers, however.

Brett Anderson has enjoyed legitimate success at the Major League level. Drew Pomeranz has not. That provides us with some intriguing context for a Colorado Rockies trade rumor that is floating about as the Winter Meetings start this week.

When Harding says re-opened, he is referring to the fact that the Rockies apparently already made one strong push for Anderson before talks fell apart. That push might start again this week, despite Colorado’s reluctance to trade prospects, ever.

But that raises the interesting question – if a guy like Pomeranz was part of the deal, is that really a matter of parting with a prized prospect? And while Harding says that it is unknown what the Rockies would have to give up, the reasonable speculation from Troy Renck and others has been that Pomeranz might be part of a deal. If that’s the case, isn’t this more like trading an unproven young left-handed starter for a more proven but injury-prone young left-handed starter?

Anderson broke through in 2009 with an 11-11 record in 30 starts. That year he posted an impressive 7.70 K/9 innings with a 3.69 FIP and was a 3.6 WAR pitcher. The next season he was also solid in 19 starts. His K/9 went down slightly but his GB% went up to 54.6%.

It was in 2011 that a rash of injuries started for Anderson. That year he required Tommy John surgery. Upon his brief return in 2012 he suffered an oblique strain. He then started the 2013 season in the Oakland rotation, only to miss a bulk of the season with a stress fracture in his right foot. Over those seasons his numbers went up and down, with some struggles in 2013 especially. Still the trend that might be worth noting in terms of his fit in Colorado is his ground ball percentage (GB%) over those seasons in admittedly smaller sample sizes:

2011 – 57.5 GB%
2012 – 59.8 GB%
2013 – 62.9 GB%

How would he fit in the rotation? It would be subject to debate and a couple swaps, but I would project it to look something like this:

1. Jhoulys Chacin
2. Jorge De La Rosa
3. Brett Anderson
4. Tyler Chatwood
5. Juan Nicasio

That is a rotation that would still require some depth and still has some fluidity to it, but you could get excited about at least four of those names as the making of an above-average or even, dare we say, a good rotation.

The risks are his injury history and, to a lesser extent, his ineffectiveness last season. As a trade target, it is scary for the Rockies for two reasons:

1. They do not have the organizational depth to afford to give up talent and have a trade flop
2. They do not have the rotational depth to recover if Anderson continues to miss significant time with injuries.

The question, of course, is what would the Rockies have to give up for Anderson? That is an especially pertinent question if the initial trade talks flamed out because Oakland’s asking price was getting high. Would a package centered around Pomeranz be enough?

If it would be, this is something the front office should seriously consider. There would be risk involved, sure, but there is with all young starting pitchers, right? And if the risk paid off, it could be a major boost to the Colorado Rockies.