Things certainly are different with the Oakland Athletics this offseason. The team’s refusal to trade left-hander Brett Anderson amounts to the latest proof.
A year ago, the A’s were coming off a 74-win season, their worst since 1998. General manager Billy Beane saw little reason to keep the club together, particularly when the salaries of several of his better pitchers were starting to rise.
So, Beane made a series of trades that initially drew heavy criticism — and later became the foundation for one of the great turnarounds in recent baseball history.
The Athletics actually improved after moving right-hander Trevor Cahill, left-hander Gio Gonzalez and closer Andrew Bailey, shocking the baseball world by winning 94 games and the AL West title.
Well, Anderson is in a position not unlike where Gonzalez and Cahill were a year ago, set to earn $5.75 million in 2013 with club options of $8 million in ’14 and $12 million in ’15.
Naturally, several teams have inquired about Anderson’s availability. The A’s, however, are informing clubs that they do not intend to trade him, according to major league sources.
Anderson, 24, went 4-2 with a 2.57 ERA in six starts last season after returning from Tommy John surgery on Aug. 21. He missed time after straining his left oblique on Sept. 19, but returned to throw six shutout innings against the Detroit Tigers in Game 3 of the Division Series.
The A’s are deep in young starters. Plus they recently re-signed free-agent right-hander Bartolo Colon, and could re-sign free-agent righty Brandon McCarthy. But Beane evidently thinks that the team will be good enough to win again next season, and understands that trading Anderson after such a feel-good finish would be horrible public relations.
It’s another Oakland upset. Barring a major reversal, Anderson will stay.
— Ken Rosenthal