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Athletics sign Brett Anderson

The oft-injured lefty is returning to his first team.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
The red-bearded pitcher ended 2017 north of the border.
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics have agreed to a minor-league contract with left-handed starter Brett Anderson, per a tweet from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Anderson signed a one-year contract for $3.5 million with the Cubs last January, but pitched to a disastrous 8.18 ERA over his six starts with the club, allowing 34 hits in 22 innings pitched. Anderson was then sidelined by back issues before being released by the Cubs on July 31st. He was picked up by the Blue Jays about two-and-a-half weeks later, and after two successful starts at AAA Buffalo, finished the season with the big club. He was much more solid with the Jays, putting up a 5.13 ERA in his 7 starts, skewed by one horrible start in which he allowed eight earned runs to the Royals, recording only four outs.

In signing with the A’s, Anderson, still just 30 years of age, returns to the team with which he made his major league debut in 2009. Anderson dealt with a litany of injuries during his A’s tenure, though, making only 73 starts and eleven relief appearances in his five seasons in the Bay. He was solid when he could take the mound, though, with a 3.81 ERA (109 ERA+), 7.1 K/9 and a 1.283 WHIP. Anderson has long been one of the game’s premier ground ball pitchers, inducing worm-killers at a sterling 57.5% rate for his career. That rate dipped a bit in 2017, but it was still a well-above-average 49.2%.

Anderson gives the A’s another rotation option to go along with top-of-the-rotation arms Kendall Graveman and Sean Manaea. It’s very possible that both Anderson and weekend signee Trevor Cahill (who received a major league contract) will be brought along slowly as they enter Spring Training on its tail end, but once they’re available they’ll join a back-end rotation mix that includes righties Paul Blackburn, Andrew Triggs, Daniel Mengden and Daniel Gossett, as well as top prospect, lefty A.J. Puk, who could make his debut early on in 2018.