Athletics

Source: A's are among teams interested in free-agent LHP Brett Anderson

Source: A's are among teams interested in free-agent LHP Brett Anderson

The A's are among a group of teams that have checked on free agent left-hander Brett Anderson, a source confirmed to NBC Sports California.

It's unclear if Anderson will be able to attract a Major League contract offer, but Oakland would certainly prefer a minor league deal like last year.

Anderson, 30, was effective in stretches last season but struggled with injuries and inconsistency. He finished the year 4-5 with a 4.48 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 17 starts.

It looked like Anderson might have found something in August, where he allowed just two earned runs in his first 26 2/3 innings, but he landed on the disabled list soon after with a strained forearm.

Anderson began his career with the A's from 2009-13. He moved on to the Rockies, Dodgers, Cubs, and Blue Jays before rejoining Oakland last season. In 10 big league seasons, he has an ERA of 4.09.

[RELATED: Anderson scoreless in 16 straight innings]

The veteran southpaw could provide some much-needed depth in the A's rotation, especially during the first half of the season as Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton, and A.J. Puk recover from injuries. As it currently stands, Oakland's rotation would likely feature Mike Fiers, Daniel Mengden, Frankie Montas, Paul Blackburn, and Chris Bassitt, with top prospect Jesús Luzardo potentially getting a shot out of spring training.

If the A's are unable to re-sign Edwin Jackson or add another starter in free agency, Anderson represents a viable contingency plan.

A's Bob Melvin recalls celebrating Ichiro Suzuki, Adrian Beltre's careers

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AP

A's Bob Melvin recalls celebrating Ichiro Suzuki, Adrian Beltre's careers

OAKLAND -- Without fail, every time -- there's BoMel.

Just as the 2019 season opened up, Ichiro Suzuki decided he would play in his final major-league game in Tokyo. A's manager Bob Melvin was at the top of the opposing dugout paying his respects as the 10-time All-Star bid farewell to the game of baseball.

Suzuki made sure to personally run over to Melvin and shake his hand.

Ever the professional, Melvin knows he's been able to witness some amazing things across his illustrious career.

"I think the longer you're around, the more you really understand those type of days," Melvin told NBC Sports California. "I know when I was a player it wasn't something I had a focus on, but Ichiro, I had a close relationship with him and his career is one of a kind, so you want to see how he's embraced -- you want to be there for something you know you're going to remember for a long time."

The Texas Rangers retired 21-year veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre's number in Arlington a few months later. The team hosted the A's, and there was Melvin, at the top of the dugout paying his respects once again. 

And despite being on the other side of Beltre's retirement ceremony last season, and receiving "a lot of pain from Beltre over the years," Melvin knew what he did during his time in the game had to be celebrated.

"The fact that he's such a great player and such a good guy, and I've had so many conversations with him and -- a Hall of Fame-type guy -- you want to be out there and really feel good about watching it and seeing how he's embraced by the fanbase."

These were some of those significant moments Melvin's collected over the years.

Beltre has a certain unique quality to him. Well, it's more of a rule, really.

Do not -- under any circumstances, touch his head. Unless maybe if you're Elvis Andrus.

"No -- I don't even think I'd try to go there," Melvin said. 

"We did have a funny conversation," he recalled. 

[RELATED: BoMel calls Fiers' a hero for revealing Astros scandal]

When it was Yoenis Cespedes' first year, the A's were in Texas and Cespedes had slid into third base. 

"His ankle was a little funky -- we weren't really sure, I went out there, and [Cespedes'] English isn't very good, so Adrian was translating for us, which was really funny."

"I could tell at times, he was trying to get Cespedes out of the game and Cespedes was looking like 'No, no, no,' so it ended up being a funny situation, but I've spent a lot of time on the other side against Adrian."

A's teammates 'respect' Mike Fiers for speaking out against Astros

A's teammates 'respect' Mike Fiers for speaking out against Astros

A's third baseman Matt Chapman isn't the type to dwell on the past, even though the A’s finished runner-up in the AL West behind Houston in 2018 and 2019. But the Platinum Glove winner certainly does see changes resulting from the Astros cheating scandal.   

“The future for them is looking a little different right now,” Chapman said Friday. “And the future for the A’s is exciting.”

It’s not like the sign-stealing tactics in south Texas are news to Oakland A’s players at all. They were tipped off during the 2018 season.   

“Whatever they did, if we would have been more careful, I still think we could have beat them on any given day,” shortstop Marcus Semien said. “And we showed that during the end of the year when we changed the signs and just played our game.”

Players haven’t chatted much amongst each other about the involvement of their teammate, Mike Fiers, who was the named source that put MLB’s entire investigation into motion.

“At the end fo the day, we’re united behind the fact that we embrace what Fiers did,” closer Liam Hendriks said. “We’re trying to clean up the game, and if it takes somebody putting their name to it, that shows a lot of courage.”

As for Fiers being a “rat,” Chapman offered disagreed with that characterization.

“I don’t think it’s right to call him that," Chapman said. "I have nothing but respect for Mike. I think he was put in a tough situation and he did the right thing, and that baseball is going to be better for it.”

As for Fiers speaking out against his former club, Semien applauded the pitcher's actions.

[RELATED: Melvin calls Fiers a 'hero']

“He was approached by the media, and the only one to put his name on it," Semien said. "I totally respect that. Sure there were other sources, he’s not the only one. But we’re happy the game is going to get cleaned up by this.”

Semien also thinks the punishments and firings of manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow will have an effect across MLB.

“The suspensions, they’re serious,” Marcus said. “Teams aren’t going to do this anymore.”