OAKLAND, Calif. -- So much for the small market mentality of the Oakland Athletics.
Three months after signing veteran pitcher Ben Sheets to a $10 million, one-year deal, the A's agreed to a $12.5 million, four-year contract with left-hander Brett Anderson on Friday that could be worth as much as $31 million over six seasons.
"If you're going to get to the next level as a team, you have to lock down your core group of players," A's general manager Billy Beane said. "There's no question that [Anderson has] a chance to be one of the elite pitchers in the league. He was certainly was only going to become more expensive."
The two sides began negotiating in the offseason but talks didn't heat up until the end of spring training.
Under terms of the deal, Anderson receives a $1 million signing bonus, payable in equal installments on Aug. 5, Nov. 1, March 1 and Nov. 1, 2011. He gets $500,000 this year, $1 million next year, $3 million in 2012 and $5.5 million in 2013, and Oakland has options for $8 million in 2014 and $12 million in 2015.
If either option is declined, he would get a $1.5 million buyout. Oakland must decide within 10 days of the end of the season whether to exercise the following year's option.
"I'm just happy that they have the confidence in me to extend an offer," Anderson said. "Once we started talking I expected that if there was going to be a deal done that we'd get it done as close to the beginning of the season as possible so I wouldn't have to deal with it during the season."
Anderson's deal replaces a one-year contract reached in February that called for salaries of $410,000 in the majors and $240,000 in the minors.
A 2008 U.S. Olympian, Anderson went 11-11 with a 4.06 ERA in his rookie season for the A's last year. He threw 175 1/3 innings and struck out 150 batters to just 45 walks. He is 1-0 in two starts this season.
"This sends a message to everyone who follows this team that this is how we used to do it," Beane said. "It's really important to keep the core players that are going to be here."