The Oakland Athletics made a couple of fairly significant moves on Monday, bringing in Scott Kazmir via free agency, while also acquiring reliever Jim Johnson from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Jemile Weeks. If the remainder of the offseason plays out as expected, Kazmir may not be the last starter the A’s add to their rotation, as they hope to bring back Bartolo Colon as well.
Regardless of whether or not that latter move comes to fruition is irrelevant in the mind of Brett Anderson, who is very likely on his way out with the A’s. Anderson, who missed a great deal of the 2013 season, was already on shaky ground with the organization, with the Kazmir signing basically solidifying the fact that he will very likely be dealt before the winter comes to a close.
After a very good 2009 season that saw Anderson stand on the verge of becoming a breakout player for the A’s, the last few years have seen Anderson plagued by injury. In 2013, he made only five starts, and 16 appearances overall. His strikeout rate was his highest since that ’09 season, though his walks were high. He was also relatively unlucky, with opposing hitters going for a .359 BABIP off of him.
As a result, his 2013 ERA was up over six, but his xFIP was actually a very good 3.26, indicating that he wasn’t nearly as bad as some of those numbers may indicate. For him, it’s a matter of staying healthy. If he can do that, his presence on the trade market would make him one of the better options available anywhere, with the stuff that he brings to the table. For him, it’s simply a matter of health.
That is what will be the concern for prospective teams that approach the A’s about a deal. Anderson has only made 38 starts total since that 2009 season when he made 30. With Oakland, he’d very likely be relegated to a bullpen role, and potentially grab a few spot starts. The A’s would undoubtedly like to unload him, especially if it means freeing up a little extra cash after the additions that they just made.
With high upside and the fact that he’s only 25, in addition to him being a lefty, there will be interest. The return that the A’s would receive, however, given his questionable health over the past couple of years, remains to be seen.