Last year I expressed my love for Kris Medlen, and even with my love for him, I was low on his potential as I called for a 3.75-4.00 FIP and I'm sure most of us know how well he actually played. I thought he could be a nice trade target for AA.
A year later and he's looking like a number two starter with upside for way more if he can do this over more innings. The odds of trading for him now? Next to nothing. His value sky rocketed, although none of us really know if he was actually available for a trade last offseason, but I digress.
This year, Brett Anderson is my man crush.
He had far more hype than Kris Medlen as a prospect, ranking in the top 10 before his callup to majors in 2009. Similar to Medlen however, he had Tommy John surgery, and this upcoming year will be his first full season post surgery, just as the year 2012 was for Medlen. He throws a slider 30%+ of the time, and sliders tend to have nasty effects on people's elbows over time, at least when compared to pitches like a fastball or a changeup. Is this an issue? I don't think so. Sure, an injury history is never something you desire, but all humans are at risk to get hurt, and the injury rate isn't all that much higher between Anderson and someone who hasn't hit the DL yet.
The past is nice, but I don't think any of us care about the value he could have provided us with. Going forward however, Anderson is an ace. A legitimate number one starter with three relatively inexpensive years of control. Why? Brett Anderson does everything well. He generates groundballs, he limits home runs, he limits walks and he has the ability to strike people out, so basically a left handed Henderson Alvarez without the suck, which means he's nothing at all like Henderson Alvarez, since he consisted of mostly suck.
What's an ace? Good question everyone. I don't know, but I like the word.
What should we expect? I love looking at a player like Adam Wainwright and saying Anderson should be able to duplicate his value. A groundball rate of 50%+, a sub 2.5 BB/9 and a 6.5+ K/9. Wainwright strikes out a few more players, but also walks a few more. Assuming good health, which is of course, a terrible assumption to make with any pitcher, he could easily put up seasons of 4-5 WAR with upside for more.
So all we need to do is offer Rajai Davis and high five for him. Billy Beane will be sure to accept that. RAJAI DAVIS IS AWESOME. Billy Beane could very well decline to trade Anderson, and if I were Billy Beane, I would laugh if people called about him. Let's assume Billy Beane has an irrational hate of Brett Anderson, in that he's willing to trade him, but he values him highly. He already has 17 starting pitchers fighting for a rotation spot, he can get rid of this one measly pitcher.
Where is Oakland weak? Catcher seems to be a need, as I don't think any team really wants Derek Norris as a starter. JPA for Anderson right, RIGHT GUYS? No. Beane would surely laugh at that. So now what? D'Arnaud? Yes.
I'll be the first to admit, I'm not as high on d'Arnaud as others. I liked Gose more than him last season, and still do to this point. Do I think he can be good? Sure, he might even be great for all I know, but catchers are still underpaid on the open market, and I think d'Arnaud could easily be replaced, especially when guys like Martin are being offered 3/24.
So now what?
I offered Billy Beane our catcher of the future for Anderson, does he accept? Six years of team control from a batter with pretty big upside for three years of team control for an established pitcher with upside. Tough to say. I'd probably be inclined to decline (that sounds awesome) if I were Beane, and I'm the one making the offer, so there's a good chance he says no. That means I need to give more. Okay, let's send them Daniel Norris too. Beane received A.J. Cole as part of the package for Gio Gonzalez, so he doesn't seem against the concept of taking a shot on young pitchers.
Now we wait for Beane to respond to my emails about how he should trade with the Jays.
Brett Anderson will be an ace by the end of this season, at which point his value will be through the roof, just as it most likely is for Kris Medlen. He fits well into the whole "team control" concept. It's a fairly big price to pay, and I'm probably still light on the offer, so I might include that high five too just to make sure.