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Oakland A’s sign Brett Anderson to minor league deal

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Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle reports the A’s reunion with another old friend.

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s signed free agent pitcher Brett Anderson to a minor league contract, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. Slusser had previously reported the team’s interest in Anderson last weekend, after they brought back another former A’s starter in Trevor Cahill. Slusser’s full writeup can be found here.

Anderson was acquired by the A’s back in late 2007, from Arizona in the Dan Haren blockbuster. He made his MLB debut with Oakland in 2009 at age 21 and held his own, making him look like a key building block in a new young core. However, injuries caught up with him and never let go, and he only managed to reach 100 innings once from 2010-13. He did have one major highlight in green and gold, winning a brilliant ALDS start in 2012, though he matched that with a lowlight in the 2013 ALDS after a costly relief appearance in Game 4.

The A’s eventually traded Anderson to Colorado, where he again barely pitched due to injury. He finally stayed healthy in 2015 for the Dodgers, throwing a career-high 180⅓ innings of solid ball, but he disappeared after that and made brief stops last year with the Cubs and Blue Jays. The main injury lately has involved his back, which landed him on the 60-day DL in 2014 (strain), 2016 (surgery on bulging disc), and 2017 (strain).

Even when Anderson has managed to take the mound, he hasn’t been productive since that 2015 campaign — after which he (wisely) became one of the first players ever to accept a qualifying offer in free agency. His numbers last summer were ugly.

Anderson, 2017 (CHC/TOR): 6.34 ERA, 55⅓ ip, 38 Ks, 21 BB, 5 HR, 4.10 FIP

The contract is a minor league deal, so Anderson won’t join the 40-man roster for now and no corresponding move needs to be made.

Hot takes

Most likely nothing will come of this, but it’s worth stashing some more rotation depth. Anderson doesn’t cost any meaningful money and doesn’t require roster space, but technically he’s got more upside than other depth flyers (past and present) like Eric Jokisch, Chris Smith, and Eric Surkamp. Don’t hold your breath waiting for him to rediscover his ceiling, but at least the chance is there. After all, he’s still only ... wait no, that can’t be right ... he’s still only 30 years old?

Depth is important, and it’s even better when it comes in the form of old favorites like Anderson and Cahill. They debuted together back in ‘09, and now they return together nine years later. Welcome home, Brett!

Hey, Gio Gonzalez and Brandon McCarthy are free agents next winter.