Anderson aware of swirling trade speculation
Left-hander, 25, keeps focus on winter workouts after injury-stricken seasons
OAKLAND -- As often as the A's collect pitchers, they typically trade them away at an equally fervent pace.
When dealing Trevor Cahill, they landed Jarrod Parker. Years before that, they parted with Mark Mulder and got Dan Haren, who eventually left Oakland in a trade that included Brett Anderson. Now whom will the A's get for Anderson?
A trade involving the southpaw seems inevitable at this point. There's no such thing as too much pitching, but Oakland's surplus of arms has the club in prime position to potentially do some restocking of their farm system, should the right deal come along.
The A's recently signed Scott Kazmir to a two-year, $22 million deal to join a rotation that includes youngsters Parker, Sonny Gray, A.J. Griffin, Dan Straily and Tommy Milone, all of whom are under club control for several more years. That's already six pitchers. Then there's Anderson.
Despite his health concerns, the A's exercised the lefty's $8 million option, believing he can potentially exceed that value in 2014, whether with them or another team. That makes the lefty an attractive buy-low candidate for the many clubs not willing to give in to the rising prices attached to free-agent pitchers.
So it's no surprise Anderson already has been linked to the Blue Jays, Mariners, Indians and Yankees, among others.
"Every time I'm on Twitter, I think I've been linked to every team -- the Dallas Cowboys, to your dad's adult softball team," joked Anderson, speaking by phone on Thursday evening near his offseason home in Houston. "It's kind of been every team from top to bottom, but it's something you can't really dwell on, because if you focus on that, you're going to spend your time worrying about something you have no control over.
"I guess it's good to be wanted, and apparently I'm wanted by quite a few teams. You definitely see the business side of things. It seems like I've been linked to trade rumors the last couple of years, so you don't get used to it but realize it's part of baseball and understand that if it happens, it happens, and if it doesn't, it doesn't."
At 25 years old, Anderson may still have his best seasons ahead of him. At least that's what he hopes. Tommy John surgery kept him off the mound for most of 2011 and '12, and foot and ankle issues spoiled a 2013 campaign that began with him as the Opening Day starter. He ended it in the bullpen, reaching only 44 2/3 innings this year. Since 2011, he's thrown just 163.
Anderson's last injury-free season was in 2009, when he broke into the big leagues with an 11-11 record and 4.06 ERA as a rookie through 30 starts. In 19 starts the next year, he went 7-6 with a 2.80 ERA, and over his five seasons in the Majors, he's compiled a 3.81 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, averaging 7.1 strikeouts to 2.4 walks per nine innings.
The talent's there. Is it enough to convince teams to not only take a chance on his health but, in doing so, give away some good prospects?
"I think I'm a good pitcher when I'm healthy, but it's been a while since I've had that long haul," Anderson said. "I'm looking forward to that. I want that. I want to pitch, I want to play, I'm tired of getting hurt. It sounds good in theory, but it's about going out and doing it. I'm putting the work in, and I'm trying to be as proactive as possible and exercise all options to prevent any injuries."
Anderson is working out full time with personal trainer Lee Fiocchi, who also trains Kazmir and former A's outfielder Chris Young in the Houston area during the offseason. And that's about as much as he can control.
"I'd like to be more healthy and see what I can do on the field when I'm healthy," he said. "Obviously the A's showed faith in me and gave me that contract for a reason, but I want to prove to them that they gave me that money for a purpose. But also, at this point, I want to do it for myself, because I like baseball and I like pitching and I like going out there and trying to win ballgames and being competitive, rather than sitting on the sidelines and doing rehab stuff.
"I've enjoyed my time in Oakland, but if it doesn't work out that way, where I'm there next year or whenever, I'll be going out there and giving 100 percent for whoever that may be. Right now I'm an Oakland A, and I want to help that team get over the hump next year."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.