Oakland Athletics Make Huge Mistake Not Dealing Brett Anderson for Wil Myers

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterDecember 12, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 09:  Brett Anderson #49 of the Oakland Athletics pitches in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 9, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

If there’s one thing we learned through Sunday night’s six-player trade between the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays, it’s that Royals GM Dayton Moore really, really wanted James Shields.

Although he ultimately got his man—as well as Wade Davis—it came at the steep price of top prospect Wil Myers, top pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi, former top pitching prospect Mike Montgomery, and 20-year-old third baseman Patrick Leonard, who’s far less notable relative to the aforementioned players.

Before Moore ultimately traded away a healthy chunk of the team’s future, there were ongoing rumors that he was pushing for a straight trade of Shields for Myers. Like the genius that he is, Rays GM Andrew Friedman wouldn’t budge and demanded more in return for one of the game’s more consistent starters.

However, in his morning-after assessment of the megadeal, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan mentioned that the Royals had also contacted the A’s about a similar one-for-one deal for Brett Anderson.

While I completely understand why the Rays were unwilling to part with Shields for Wil Myers alone, I can’t say the same thing regarding the A’s and Anderson.

Signed to a four-year, $12.5 million extension in 2010 following an impressive rookie season, Anderson is under team control for the next three seasons and owed $5.5 million in 2013 with an $8 million club option in 2014 and $12 club option in 2015. With such a back-loaded contract, it’s obvious that the A’s believe he’ll reach his ceiling—though it may take a while.

Even though Anderson has had his ups-and-downs over the last four seasons, the 24-year-old left-hander does own a 3.57 ERA and highly impressive 2.2 BB/9 in 68-career starts.

Here’s what I can’t figure out, though. Given his perceived inability to stay healthy over a full season, why was Billy Beane so quick to reject a one-for-one trade for Myers?

Since reaching the major leagues in 2009, Anderson has spent 402 days on the disabled list—276 of which were a result of his Tommy John surgery in June 2011. Furthermore, he’s been on the disabled list for at least 96 days in each of the last three seasons.

Passan’s explanation of the A’s disinterest in such a deal for Myers makes sense. Like any prospect, there’s no guarantee that his minor-league success will translate in the majors. Therefore, trading Anderson, a distinguished big-league starter, straight-up for the 22-year-old outfielder was seemingly too risky.

Yes, Anderson is expected to be a main cog in the A’s rotation next season, but who’s to say he’ll stay healthy long enough to make an impact? Now imagine an outfield configuration of Myers, Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick. Personally, that may have been a risk work taking.

There was a significant amount of uncertainty for both teams in this potential deal, but with their sights set on a return to the postseason in 2013, the A’s ultimately stuck with what has previously worked.