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.
The contract is worth between $14 million and $15 million, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported. The deal will keep the 33-year-old right-hander in green and gold through the 2020 season.
MLB Trade Rumors projected Fiers to receive $9.7 million in arbitration, so Oakland likely will 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 Los Angeles 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 Texas Rangers.
Fiers had better numbers than all three of those pitchers.
Between the Detroit Tigers and the A’s, Fiers went 12-8 with a 3.56 ERA, 10th best in the American League, and a 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 per season.
While Oakland probably would 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. Jharel Cotton and A.J. Puk both are recovering from Tommy John surgery, but they should provide reinforcements midway through the season.
In the last two days, the A’s have added Fiers, highly regarded reliever Joakim Soria and talented young infielder Jurickson Profar, all for less than $20 million in 2019 salary. That certainly should make for a happy holiday season in Oakland.