Brett Anderson twitter clevelandWhen looking back at Brett Anderson’s career with the Oakland A’s, you can either see him as a hot prospect who still hasn’t reached his full potential and could be a future ace, or as an injury-riddled pitcher who spent more time on the disabled list than on the mound for the past two seasons.

Whatever your answer is, you’ll find out with Anderson wearing a Colorado Rockies uniform. On Tuesday, A’s traded the 25-year-old southpaw to the Rockies along with $2 million cash for LHP Drew Pomeranz, and Minor League RHP Chris Jensen.

Pomeranz has struggled in three seasons with the Rockies, compiling a 4-14 record with a 5.20 ERA in 30 starts. Part of that has to do with the bandbox that is Coors Field, and part of that has to do with the fact that Pomeranz is also just 25 years old and may need more time to develop.

But this trade is less about Drew Pomeranz than it is about Brett Anderson and the A’s being able to shed $6 million in salary (Anderson will make $8 million 2014, A’s gave $2 million to Rockies as part of the deal).

First off, it is a bit disappointing that the A’s were only able to get back two unproven pitchers for Anderson, who, when healthy, has nasty stuff and can be dominant. And if that wasn’t bad enough, they had to throw in a couple million bucks as well, which just shows how thin the market was for Anderson. Many thought that the A’s would be able to turn a deal for a major-league ready player that could contribute immediately.

But perhaps General Manager Billy Beane didn’t want a major-league player, because of course, such a player would cost much more than the $500,000 that Pomeranz will make in 2014.

Also, consider Beane’s comments on Tuesday to the media at the Winter Meetings:

“We had a lot of starting pitching, and in the acquisition of Pomeranz, it allows us to turn back the clock a little with another very talented left-hander.”

With the likes of Sonny Gray, Dan Straily, A.J. Griffin, and Jarrod Parker finding a home in the A’s Major League rotation, their minor league teams are suddenly lacking in solid young pitching prospects. Add in the trades of Jemile Weeks, Grant Green, and Michael Choice (their first-round draft picks from 2008-2010) and, well, their farm system could use some replenishing.

Which explains the need to “turn back the clock,” as Beane said. To state the obvious, the A’s are not going to be a team that spends big money. There is no way they can match the Rangers’ acquisition of Prince Fielder or the Mariners’ signing of Robinson Cano. Heck, they didn’t even want to pay Brett Anderson $8 million.  All they can do is stick to the formula that has won them the division the past two seasons: build up talent through the farm system, hope that their under-the-radar signings and trades pay off, and in the case of Anderson, get rid of big contracts in favor of young talent.