Since debuting last season, Brett Anderson has been one of the game’s top starting pitchers. He’s posted a 3.61 FIP in 187 innings and heck, he’s even leading the American League in ERA right now. Oakland rewarded Anderson today by signing him to a four-year extension with two option years.
Financial terms are unavailable at this point, but honestly, it’s hard to sign a player this early in the service time game for this long without it being a team-friendly contract. Anderson has a bit more leverage than Evan Longoria did when he signed his extension, but not quite as much as Dan Haren did when he signed a four-year, $44.8M extension in 2008, a season after the Athletics traded him, and coincidentally received Anderson in return.
I believe Anderson would qualify for Super Two status, meaning the A’s are in effect buying out four arbitration years while holding the additional right to keeping Anderson off the free agent market for one season. Barring injury, this extension has the potential to look awfully sweet. So, why would Anderson and his agent do this deal, assuming it really is a sweetheart contract?
Well, the most obvious reason is that injuries and attrition do happen. Anderson could tear something tomorrow and never be the same. Wouldn’t matter, he’d still receive the money. There’s also the present and future value of money to consider. Anderson is probably (I’d use hopefully, but someone would accuse me of being a player’s union apologist, I’m sure) getting an immediate raise either this or next season.
Oakland is definitely not without risk in this deal. If it works out, they’re going to look quite smart and be praised for their foresight. If it doesn’t … well, Eric Chavez’s contract already happened. Look at the repercussions from that.