Grading Oakland Athletics on the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings

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Grading Oakland Athletics on the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Reliever Jerry Blevins heads to Washington.

Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane waited until late into the second day of Major League Baseball's 2013 Winter Meetings to finally make a move. But once he did, he struck quickly.

First, he traded starting pitcher Brett Anderson to the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday for pitchers Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen. A day later, he surprised many by sending reliever Jerry Blevins to the Washington Nationals for minor league outfielder Billy Burns.

Neither move seems to have impressed fans very much.

Additionally, former Oakland A's pitcher and last season's ace Bartolo Colon officially signed with the New York Mets, and minor league catcher David Freitas became the player to be named later in the team's acquisition of Jim Johnson from the Orioles last week, per Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun.

Here's the breakdown of each move along with fan reaction and a final grade.

 

Brett Anderson for Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen

All signs indicated Anderson leaving. An $8 million price tag is steep for a player who hasn't been able to remain healthy throughout his career. And he garnered plenty of interest in the last few weeks, so it made sense.

It really wasn't a surprise to many.

In fact, some fans—like the ones seen below—are more than OK with seeing Anderson go:

Anderson is a hard player to judge. In his rookie season in 2009, he won 11 games and ended the year with a 4.06 ERA. His ERA went down significantly the next season (2.80), but so did the total amount of games he was healthy for (19). In 2011, his ERA spiked to 4.00, and the total amount of games started dropped again (13).

Last year was the worst performance he's turned in. Not only did he start five games, which was the lowest total of his career, but he finished with a 6.04 ERA, the worst of his career.

In his big league career, Pomeranz is 4-14 with a 5.20 ERA. Jensen hasn't pitched above Single-A, where he holds a combined 4.22 ERA.

John Sickels of SBNation's MinorLeagueBall.com had this to offer:

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.

Some fans aren't holding their breath, though, as seen here:

With the injury concerns, it didn't seem likely that the A's would net a huge bat in a one-for-one deal, though they do still need one to fill the DH spot vacated by Seth Smith, who signed with San Diego this offseason. The hope was that Beane would use Anderson as the centerpiece in a package deal for a power hitter.

Instead, he grabbed two wild-card pitchers that could very well be busts.

 

Jerry Blevins for Billy Burns

With the acquisition of Pomeranz and Jensen, the A's held a stockpile of relievers. So, when the Nationals called about Blevins, Beane took the opportunity to spruce up the farm system.

Burns earned Washington's Minor League Player of the Year Award in 2013, with a .315 average, 37 RBI and 74 stolen bases.

This was a move for the long-term, and it's one that is understandable. In the short-term, however, A's fans are feeling sentimental:

Try to find tweets that show fans being happy about the Blevins trade. Spoiler alert: I did it for you. There aren't any that were found. The one positive revolved around the intrigue surrounding Burns and his phenomenal speed.

Again, 74 steals is outstanding.

 

Colon Walks, and Freitas Leaves

After two years in Oakland, Colon signed with the Mets this week on a two-year deal for $20 million. It's a gamble for New York, especially since Colon will be 41 next May. The Mets need him as a filler for Matt Harvey, who received Tommy John surgery in October, more than the A's need him at all.

Catcher David Freitas just made it to Triple-A in 2013 as a 24-year-old. He hit a combined .231 between Double-A and Triple-A last season.

Neither loss will hurt in the long-run.

Freitas was not the catcher of the future with Derek Norris on the roster. Colon has already been replaced by Scott Kazmir, who signed with the team earlier in the offseason.

 

Final Grade

It would have been ideal to use Anderson to get a bat in return. It didn't happen, and that's disappointing. Essentially, the A's traded a "hope he rebounds" guy for a "hope he rebounds" guy, so that's a squash.

Blevins is talented and a fan-favorite. For 2014, the move lessens the talent of the Oakland bullpen. We won't know how Burns turns out for a few years. Hence, another squash.

Letting Colon walk and only giving up Freitas as the player to be named later in a previous trade were both smart moves that won't be damning.

The overall grade here is a C, a plain-Jane C. In this case, the quantity of moves exceeded their quality.

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