Surprise, Ariz. — With Kansas City cutting payroll and going through another youth movement, Brian Anderson knows that he could be traded in spring training.
Anderson could be a valuable commodity on the trade market to a club looking for a veteran left-hander to plug into the middle of the rotation. He acknowledges it's possible he could be traded before the April 4 opener.
"Anybody that's been around the game long enough can see where things are headed here," he said. "At the same time, you have to have a certain amount of professionalism and maturity to not spend much time talking about those things, thinking about things. You can get too wrapped up in that you might be traded so that it becomes a distraction. If it happens, I'm sure they will let me know."
One reason the Royals might want to deal Anderson is his $3.25 million salary ranks third on their payroll. They also have a handful of young starting candidates making just above the major-league minimum salary of $314,000 as possible replacements for Anderson.
"I'm preparing to be on this starting staff from day one," Anderson said. "Whatever happens before or after that off the field, I have no control over. Right now, I'm a Kansas City Royal and plan on being one."
General manager Allard Baird said he would not discuss any potential moves, but he said he expected Anderson to be a leader on the staff.
"The main focus for him right now is to come back and have a good season, which I think he will," Baird said.
Anderson, who was a 14-game winner in 2003, was the Royals opening-day starter last year before losing a franchise record nine consecutive starts from April 25 to July 19. He was 1-8 with a 7.23 earned-run average at the All-Star break.
"I had one of the all-time bad first halves that anybody ever had," Anderson said. "It was not your garden variety that I had a bad game, but a bad three months."
Anderson finished the season strong, however, going 5-3 in July and August, including the team's only victory over the New York Yankees. He logged a 3.89 earned-run average in five September starts.
"Look at my overall numbers for the year and they were bad, but I was pleased with the second half," Anderson said.
Anderson finished 6-12 with a 5.64 ERA.
"There was a lot of stuff going on in the first half," Anderson said. "There was a lot of things I was trying that in hindsight that I shouldn't have been doing. I was trying to do it with smoke and mirrors, using different mechanics from start to start, holding the ball different. Things you can't do."