Athletics

Why A's might not bring back pitcher Brett Anderson for 2020 MLB season

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Why A's might not bring back pitcher Brett Anderson for 2020 MLB season

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.

Brett Anderson, LHP

Contract: Free agent (earned $1.5 million this season)

Reasons to bring him back

Anderson arguably had the best season of his entire career, going 13-9 with a 3.89 ERA in 31 starts. Perhaps most impressive, the 31-year-old left-hander pitched 176 innings, just 4 1/3 shy of his career-high.

Anderson came to spring training in great shape this year and it paid off. While he dealt with a few minor bumps and bruises, he didn't have to miss any significant time with injuries, something that had plagued him throughout his career.

Even though the A's will have some great young talent in their starting rotation next season, you never can have too much pitching depth. We've seen how many injuries can sideline pitchers in the modern game, which means teams typically try to have 10 reliable starting pitchers to begin a season, not just five.

Reasons to let him go

The A's starting rotation is shaping up to be its best since the Big Three played in Oakland.

With Jesús Luzardo, Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea, Mike Fiers, A.J. Puk, and Chris Bassitt all ahead of him on the depth chart, Anderson might make more sense in a relief role. However, at this stage of his career, Anderson might have no interest in joining the bullpen, and he might want more money than the A's are willing to offer.

Based on his performance in 2019, he certainly deserves a raise from his $1.5 million salary. The question is what number Anderson and his agent Brian Peters would accept.

[RELATED: Should A's bring back Profar in 2020?]

Final verdict

If Anderson is willing to sign another one-year deal for relatively cheap, he absolutely would be worth bringing back for depth purposes. But that seems unlikely following such a productive season.

Just look at last offseason when Trevor Cahill signed a one-year, $9 million deal with the Angels after going 7-4 with a 3.76 ERA. CC Sabathia got $8 million from the Yankees following a 9-7 season with a 3.65 ERA. Even if Anderson isn't offered that much, someone figures to give him more than the A's would (and should).

For that reason, Anderson returning to Oakland feels like a long shot.

Source: Free agent second baseman Eric Sogard interested in A's return

Source: Free agent second baseman Eric Sogard interested in A's return

Having a lefty bat at the second base position continues to be one of the A's main focuses this offseason

That could mean reuniting with Eric Sogard. A source tells NBC Sports California the 34-year-old is open to returning to Oakland.

Sogard, currently a free agent, had an exceptional campaign in 2019 slashing .290/.353/.457 with 13 homers across 110 games with the Blue Jays and the Rays. He was part of the Tampa Bay squad that came to the AL Wild-Card Game in Oakland and celebrated in the visitors' clubhouse.

A's fans remember the outcome of that. 

The second baseman spent six seasons with the A's from 2010-15 where he accumulated a .239 average with eight home runs and 105 RBI. 

The A's traded second baseman Jurickson Profar to the Padres on Dec. 2, so they have a need at the position.

Despite picking up a talented second baseman during Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, the team will still seek a more prominent starter at the position. 

[RELATED: A's are focused on keeping young stars]

The A's reportedly are interested in bringing current Mets second baseman Jed Lowrie back for the third time -- but there are 10 million reasons as to why the Mets wouldn't make a trade.

Did we mention Sogard bats left-handed yet?

2019 MLB Rule 5 Draft: A's lose Mark Payton, acquire minor leaguers

2019 MLB Rule 5 Draft: A's lose Mark Payton, acquire minor leaguers

As teams headed down south to the Winter Meetings in San Diego, the two main goals for the A's appeared to be finding a left-handed bat at second base, as well as continuing conversations with relief pitchers.

While the A's didn't make any huge acquisitions during the meetings, the 2019 Rule 5 Draft came and went as it does every year. With that, Oakland selected three players in the minor-league phase of the draft and had a couple more transactions as well.

Second baseman Vimael Machin was acquired from the Phillies for cash considerations. He will be competing for a roster spot.

The 26-year-old slashed .295/.390/.412 with seven home runs and 65 RBI across the Double and Triple-A teams in the Chicago Cubs organization last season. 

Jason Krizan was selected from the Mets during the Triple-A phase. The 30-year-old outfielder hit .275 across two teams last season. 

The Athletic's prospect writer Emily Waldon says he's going to be a solid addition to the A's organization.

"His walk rate has always been impressive," Waldon told NBC Sports California. "He doesn't have a ton of swing and misses, with some raw power, with eight to ten home run seasons. He's also a dependable defender with a good veteran presence." Waldon also joked Krizan has "80-grade sarcasm."

The A's also selected catcher Jose Colina, who put up some massive numbers with the Arizona League Indians Blue after signing with Cleveland as a minor-league free agent in June. The 21-year-old slashed .372/.443/.744 with eight homers and 20 RBI.

Right-handed pitcher Deivy Mendez rounds the group out. In 25 appearances across Single-A and Short-A last season with the Padres organization, he went 2-1 with six saves and a 4.20 ERA, striking out 33. 

[RELATED: A's interested in acquiring Lowrie for third time]

The Cincinnati Reds selected outfielder Mark Payton, who was claimed off waivers by the A's in December of 2018. Payton was selected during the major league phase of the draft which, according to Waldon, has the A's losing some muscle at the plate.

However, scouts reportedly didn't see the 28-year-old "doing a great deal outside of filling some needs." That power is what has gotten the most talk around Payton. 

Payton took advantage of the PCL last season with Triple-A Las Vegas and slashed .334/.400/.653 with 30 home runs and 97 RBI in 118 games.