Inking Anderson A Great Sign for As

April 16, 2010, 10:08 pm
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Back when As general manager Billy Beane was building theteam that reached the playoff five times between 2000-2006, one of hissignature moves was to sign a young player on the verge of greatness and gethim to sign a multi-year deal.On Friday, Beane basically announced to the baseball worldthat hes putting the finishing touches on the construction of another team heexpects to contend for years to come.He signed 22-year-old lefty Brett Anderson to a four-yeardeal that includes club options for 2014 and 2015, and that pretty much makesit a six-year deal. These As are this close to beingperennial contenders again, and just like the previous As team that madesummers in Oakland so much fun, this version is going to lean heavily on youngpitching.Back in the day, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito werethe anchors of success. Soon -- very soon -- the 24-and-under foursome ofAnderson, Trevor Cahill (22), Gio Gonzalez (24) and Vin Mazzaro (23) will beexpected to lead the way.Thats not to discount the considerable talents of DallasBraden, 26, or rehabbing Josh Outman, 25, or even recently reacquired ChadGaudin, 27. They, and others, could play major roles in the coming years.But it all starts, in the minds of Beane and able assistant,David Forst, with Anderson.He proved as a rookie last season, as a full-time starter at the remarkable ageof 21, that hes one of the most promising young hurlers in the game -- maybethe best young lefty, period.Locking up Anderson -- expect catcher Kurt Suzuki and maybecloser Andrew Bailey to get a similar deal soon -- sends multiple messages fromBeane and Forst, the most important being to the players and fans. Dont believe a word of what you might hear or readabout us not caring about you or about winning. Were close. Believeit. Beane certainly didnt pioneer the notion of locking upyoung talent. Its a no-brainer, really. It provides the player with securityin the form of guaranteed dollars at a time when a career-ending injury couldstop his earnings cold, and it provides the club with a measure of costcertainty for future planning.In this case, it provides As fans with more of what theyvealready gotten with the clubs surprisingly strong start.Hope.--Mychael Urban

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