Needing more pitchers in their system, the A's picked up right-hander Dan Denham, Cleveland's first-round draft pick in 2001, in exchange for cash. Denham, 24, played at Deer Valley High School in Antioch.
No word yet on what the A's paid, but given that he becomes a six-year minor league free agent at the end of the season, I doubt it was much.
Signed to a $1,860,000 bonus in 2001, the Indians apparently got tired of waiting for Denham to move beyond an average AA pitcher. He didn't perform well in AAA during two short stints the last two seasons, but he's still only 24, and he has good stuff.
Denham’s failure to succeed at Buffalo is somewhat of a mystery because he continues to throw an above-average fastball, which tops out about 94 miles per hour, an improving cut fastball and an average curveball and slider. When he is going well, Denham gets a lot of ground-ball outs.
The fact he has an ineffective changeup might well account for a big part of his problems. In addition, Denham’s attitude, which borders on cocky, has also been questioned throughout his pro career.
Denham, who has never been on the Tribe’s 40-man roster, can potentially be a six-year minor league free agent at the end of the 2007 season, making this coming year the most important of his career.
Sounds like a guy who might do well with a change of scenery. Hopefully he'll also take the trade as a wakeup call and adjust any attitude problems.
Even though this is a small-time deal, I like the A's taking a chance on a good arm, and adding to the depth of the mid-to-high minors. Denham once had a lot of promise -- maybe the A's can help him recapture that.
Beane has certainly had luck with these types of long-time minor leaguers before, and I wonder if he acted now partially out of concern that someone else would snap him up after the season? Or was it simply that the A's needed to fill the hole left by Braden's promotion, and didn't want to rush their own prospects? Or was this payback for the Indian's medical reporting screw-up regarding Rule 5 pick Ryan Goleski (who eventually had to be offered back to the Indians, after the A's paid an extra $100,000 to the Devil Rays to draft the guy)?