A's ink Anderson to four-year extension
Deal for lefty includes club options for '14, '15 seasons
OAKLAND -- Consider this a win-win deal for left-hander Brett Anderson and the Oakland A's.
The A's locked up their ace-in-waiting Friday through the 2015 season. He signed a four-year contract that includes team options in 2014 and '15, which would have been his first potential year of free agency.
Anderson achieved financial security at the tender age of 22, and the A's, by signing him to a long-term deal in just his second big league season, got him for a reasonable price, by baseball standards.
"I'm excited," Anderson said. "We've got a good core group here, got some friends here, so it will be good to stay here for awhile.
"There's something to be said for being secure at 22 years old, so I can go out there and focus on pitching and baseball and not really have to worry about too much else, right now at least."
Neither Anderson nor the A's have to worry about any nasty salary arbitration battles down the road.
Anderson's deal, according to the Associated Press, is worth as much as $31 million if the A's exercise both options. The deal includes a $1 million signing bonus, and there's a $1.5 million buyout if the A's decline either option.
Anderson is scheduled to receive salaries of $500,000 (2010), $1 million ('11), $3 million ('12), $5.5 million ('13), $8 million ('14) and $12 ('15).
"Let's face it, it's not only having him for that length of time, but also, given his talent, it provides us with some cost control," A's general manager Billy Beane said. "Premium starting pitchers, guys who can pitch in that No. 1 slot, which we think Brett will be doing very shortly, become very expensive very quickly.
"We think Brett's a pretty unique talent. The more we saw of him and the longer we waited, the more expensive it was going to become. We jumped early."
Anderson came to the A's in 2007 from the Arizona D-backs as part of the Dan Haren trade. Last year at 21, he made the A's Opening Day roster and spent the entire season in the big leagues, going 11-11 with a 4.06 ERA in 30 starts. He struck out 150, setting an Oakland rookie record, walked just 45 and finished sixth in American League Rookie of the Year voting.
"At 21 years old, to do what he did in the Major Leagues, I don't know that we've had a guy since I've been here that accomplished as much as he did at that age," Beane said. "And there's no reason to think that he's not going to continue to get better. This is a guy who last year, I think, would have been a junior in college, and here he was pitching in the Major Leagues for our club and pitching very well. And quite frankly, since then, he's only gotten better, too. The second half of last year, the way he's started off this way, I think indicates that he's going to be one of the premiere pitchers in the league certainly in the next couple years."
Anderson finished strong last season, going 4-0 in September. This year, he picked up where he left off. He has yet to allow a run in 12 inning and is 1-0 with 10 strikeouts and three walks.
"I think the adjustments I made last year in the second half are a big key," Anderson said of his getting the long-term deal. "I don't know if these first two starts I've had here had anything to do with it, but I'd say they put a pretty good taste in their mouth, I guess. I'm just overall excited about it."
Anderson was the A's No. 1 pitcher throughout most of his rookie season. This year, he's slotted behind Ben Sheets, Justin Duchscherer and Dallas Braden, but Beane said he has undeniable top-of-the-rotation talent.
"The first thing when you look at a guy who you think could pitch at the top of the rotation is he has pure stuff," Beane said. "He's 94-96 [mph] with great command. He strikes guys out. He gets ground balls. He has all the attributes physically you want in a top-of-the-rotation starter.
"His talent will show itself. You could make the argument he could do that now. He did that last year. The first two games he indicated he could pitch just about anywhere he wanted to."
Eric Gilmore is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.