Two All-West Trades, Let’s Savor Them

(Sorry, White Sox.)

Angels receive LHP Tyler Skaggs from Diamondbacks and RHP Hector Santiago from White Sox.
Diamondbacks receive 1B Mark Trumbo and RHP A.J. Schugel from Angels and OF Brandon Jacobs from White Sox.
White Sox receive CF Adam Eaton from Diamondbacks.

We went into Trumbo’s power yesterday (see the sidebar), so we’ll get into the other aspects of his game for Arizona. The behemoth GOLDSchmidt does not retreat from first base for any mortal being; Trumbo will probably play left field. The Dbacks had Fangraphs’ highest team defensive rating last year, and Adam Eaton was considered a rangy defender with a capable arm. But if you check out the data, you’ll see that Eaton actually had a drastically negative defensive score, -11.2, equal to Jason Kubel. Yeesh, that’s ugly, and probably a poor measure of Eaton’s talent, given the sample size. All the same, Eaton’s negative figure did not knock Arizona out of first place, nor did Kubel’s (the two combined for about 500 PA). Trumbo could honestly be that bad, but the defense as a whole will remain elite.

The Angels get two young, cost-controlled pitchers who are bound to them for many moons. If you’ve found this blog, I don’t need a long ass paragraph to convince you that’s a good thing.

***

Rockies receive LHP Brett Anderson from A’s
A’s receive LHP Drew Pomeranz and RHP Chris Jensen from Rockies

We’ve long been bullish on Brett Anderson, and we view his injury history as just an unlikely clustering of obstacles to his success. Anderson has an excellent pair of breaking pitches and locates them both well. His groundball rate is a bigger asset at Coors than it is elsewhere. Anderson could be the best pitcher on the Rockies for the next two years, after which he’ll become a free agent. If it goes the other way and he keeps getting hurt, all the Rockies gave up was a middle-of-the-rotation starter and a minor league arm. Not bad for a team currently out of the playoff picture.

Drew Pomeranz might become the next young A’s pitcher to blossom under pitching coach Curt Young. You figure A.J. Griffin, Sonny Gray, Jarrod Parker and Scott Kazmir all come above him in the rotation. That leaves Pomeranz in competition with Tommy Milone (another lefty) and Dan Straily (a righty). If he doesn’t distinguish himself in the spring or early in the season, he’ll come into play later on as a testament to the wonders of Oakland’s depth. He’s much cheaper than Anderson, too, meaning the A’s could continue to stock their bench this winter (with great dividends come summer, the opposite of the ant in the fable).

***

Despite the prevailing criticism of Kevin Towers and the Diamondbacks, we think all four teams made smart decisions yesterday. Arizona’s isn’t far from the wild card or even the division. Look at this scatterplot of runs scored and allowed per game. The teams on the bottom right almost universally made the postseason. The Diamondbacks are on the fringe of that group. They addressed an offensive need, and the resulting defensive sacrifice doesn’t affect their standing as an elite defensive team. Now all they need is a couple of proven starters and a rebound year for the bullpen. Bullpens rebound all the time.

Last year’s Angels had laughable pitching depth. Bear witness if you have a strong stomach. Santiago and Skaggs should take most of the 254 and two-thirds innings that went to Jerome Williams and Joe Blanton. If they self-improve on top of that, huzzah! They’ll be Mike Trout’s teammates for a while.

The Rockies could be a playoff contendah in the next two years if they hit on the Anderson gamble. If it busts, they’re in the same position they are now.

The A’s, already a very good team, they don’t need an expensive boom-or-bust pitcher when they have six others at the same position. Acquiring cheap depth like Pomeranz allows for more cheap depth. That’s how they succeeded last year. And even with better Angels and Rangers playing opposite, I’d count on it happening again.

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