When the A's non-tendered Mike Fiers three weeks ago, it came as a surprise to many across the baseball world. It turns out Billy Beane and David Forst knew exactly what they were doing.
Fiers agreed to a two-year contract with the A's Saturday, pending a physical, worth between $14 million and $15 million, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi. The deal will keep the 33-year-old right-hander in green and gold through the 2020 season.
MLB Trade Rumors projected Fiers to get $9.7 million in arbitration, so Oakland will likely save more than $2 million in annual salary. Compare that to other starting pitchers' deals this offseason and the A's come out looking like geniuses.
Most recently, the Angels signed former A's right-hander Trevor Cahill to a one-year contract worth $9 million, possibly up to $10.5 million including incentives. The Angels also signed right-hander Matt Harvey for $11 million, with incentives potentially taking his deal to $14 million. Lance Lynn got three years and $30 million from the Rangers.
Fiers had better numbers than all three.
Between Detroit and Oakland, Fiers went 12-8 with a 3.56 ERA, 10th best in the American League, and 1.18 WHIP. In 10 appearances with the A's, he was 5-2 with a 3.74 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, notching 52 strikeouts in 53 innings.
Cahill had a 3.76 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. Lynn was far worse in both categories, with a 4.77 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. Harvey checked in at 4.94 and 1.30. Yet the A's managed to bring back Fiers for between $7 million and $7.5 million a season.
While Oakland would probably like to add another starter this offseason, Fiers will go a long way toward solidifying the rotation in 2019. He joins Daniel Mengden, Frankie Montas, Paul Blackburn, and top prospect Jesús Luzardo to form the A's likely starting five, with Chris Bassitt and Tanner Anderson also in the mix.
In the last two days, the A's have now added Fiers, highly-regarded reliever Joakim Soria, and talented young infielder Jurickson Profar, all for less than $20 million in 2019 salary. That should certainly make for a happy holiday season in Oakland.