Athletics

Evaluating A's free agents in 2018 MLB offseason: Brett Anderson

andersonbrettgreennight.jpg
AP

Evaluating A's free agents in 2018 MLB offseason: Brett Anderson

Brett Anderson is coming off an up-and-down season that saw him finish 4-5 with a 4.48 ERA and 1..28 WHIP. The 30-year-old southpaw also made two trips to the disabled list with shoulder and forearm injuries.

Anderson found his form in the month of August, compiling a 2.15 ERA in five starts, but the rest of the season was mostly a struggle. Overall, 2018 represented an improvement from his 6.34 ERA in 2017, but this was clearly not the same Anderson from his first stint in Oakland.

Anderson signed a minor league contract with the A's in March and earned $1.5 million when he made the 40-man roster and pitched in the big leagues.

Why the A's should re-sign him

When healthy, Anderson could be a decent number five starter in the A's rotation. He is comfortable in Oakland and could provide depth for the A's in the case of injuries to other starting pitchers. He also doesn't figure to draw much interest around the league and should therefore be affordable once again.

Why the A's should let him go

Anderson has struggled the last few seasons. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, he struggled to find a rhythm in 2018. Oakland has better starting pitching options, even though some of them are currently injured. Another $1.5 million contract might be too much to spend on a fringe starting pitcher with a history of injuries.

Verdict

The A's will most likely move on from Anderson. Even though they could probably sign him for a reasonable price, the A's would prefer to turn to younger starters like Daniel Mengden, Frankie Montas,  Jesús Luzardo, and when healthy, A.J. Puk and Jharel Cotton. Anderson's inconsistency the last few seasons makes him hard to rely on as more than a long reliever or depth starter.

Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

treinenusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who may or may not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Blake Treinen, RHP

Contract: Final year of arbitration (projected to get $7.8 million after earning $6.4 million this season)

Reasons to bring him back

In 2018, Blake Treinen enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in MLB history. The right-hander went 9-2 with 38 saves and a 0.78 ERA, notching 100 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings.

Unfortunately, Treinen followed that up with the worst season of his career, going 6-5 with a 4.91 ERA in 2019, ultimately losing the closer job to Liam Hendriks. Still, Treinen's stuff looked dominant at times and he could certainly bounce back in 2020.

Treinen is still just 31 years old and should have some productive years ahead of him. His fastball averaged 97 mph this season with explosive movement. If he can improve his command, Treinen could still be a productive reliever moving forward.

Reasons to let him go

Treinen is coming off an incredibly disappointing season. He entered the year as one of the top closers in baseball, but quickly lost his closer job due to injury and poor performance.

Treinen's 4.91 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, and 5.14 FIP were all career worsts, as were his 37 walks in just 58 2/3 innings. He saw his season come to a premature end when an MRI revealed a stress reaction in his back. And pitchers and back injuries don't mix well (see: Marco Estrada). Tendering Treinen a contract would be a major risk.

Final verdict

Treinen could very well return to being an effective relief pitcher, but the A's can't afford to take that chance for nearly $8 million. That money would be better spent on multiple relievers to help shore up the team's shaky bullpen.

[RELATED: A's stay or go candidate for 2020 season: Jake Diekman]

Between Treinen's on-field struggles and the injury concerns, Oakland would be better off seeking an offseason trade of its former All-Star closer. If the A's can't get a deal done, look for a non-tender.

Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

diekmanusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who might or might not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Jake Diekman, LHP

Contract: $5.75 million mutual option for 2020 ($500,000 buyout)

Reasons to bring him back

Diekman's stuff is undeniable. The 32-year-old left-hander boasts a 96-mph fastball along with a wicked slider, making him a tricky at-bat for right-handed and left-handed hitters alike.

Despite a 1-7 record and 4.65 ERA this season, Diekman notched 84 strikeouts in just 62 innings. For his career, he has averaged 11.2 punchouts per nine innings.

Another reason to keep Diekman is Oakland's lack of left-handed relievers. Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk both figure to move to the starting rotation next year and Ryan Buchter's return is far from certain. As a result, Diekman could be the only southpaw in the A's bullpen.

Reasons to let him go

While Diekman's strikeout numbers were highly impressive, his lack of command became a major issue down the stretch. He walked 39 batters this season, including 16 in 20 1/3 innings with the A's.

That contributed significantly to Diekman's disappointing 1.42 WHIP and 4.65 ERA. For $5.75 million, you'd have to think the A's would want someone more consistent and reliable in the late innings.

[RELATED: A's 3B coach Williams will manage in Korea next season]

Final verdict

Oakland is unlikely to bring Diekman back next season for a couple of reasons. Far too often, he just doesn't know where his pitches are going. Throughout his career, Diekman has averaged five walks per nine innings. That's a serious problem for a setup man.

The other factor is Diekman's $5.75 million price tag. That is a high figure for any non-closer, but particularly worrisome for a setup man who has proven to be inconsistent.

The A's would probably be wise to spend that money elsewhere.