The Oakland Athletics have agreed to a one-year contract with outfielder Seth Brown, avoiding arbitration. Per Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the deal is for $2.6 million and contains escalators depending on if Brown finishes in certain awards races.
The incentive breakdown is as follows: $50k for winning a Gold Glove, $100k for a Silver Slugger, $50k for an All-Star Game selection, $100k for league MVP ($75k 2nd place finish, $50k 3rd place finish), $50k for an LCS MVP, and $100k for a World Series MVP.
It's unlikely that Brown hits any of these markers. The All-Star selection seems the most achievable, though if he gets traded to a contender at mid-season, the postseason awards could come into play.
The left-hander should find himself primarily in platoon duty for the A's in 2024, working the strong side of an outfield corner platoon with Miguel Andujar.
2023 was a bit of a down year for the 31 year old. Brown hit just .222/.286/.405 in 112 games. Of his 378 plate appearances, 286 came against right handed pitchers. Brown is a career .237 hitter against righties, and he stayed mostly true to that, posting a .234 mark against them last season.
The power was way down however, as Brown slugged just .444 against righties, compared to a .478 mark. He hit just 14 home runs, the lowest mark in his three seasons with regular playing time.
The fact of the matter is that Brown just needs to hit better to be a viable piece for the A's in 2024 and beyond. He's not a particularly strong defensive outfielder, and a 92 wRC+ as a platoon bat really isn't going to cut it for a competitive team.
GM David Forst has been open about the A's not wanting to trade Brown. They feel he has more value to this team than what he'd bring back in a trade, which is admittedly not a ton. If they were to trade him now, they'd also be selling at his lowest value in years, which is not a smart play.
There are some positive signs for Brown. His hard-hit rate remains high. He posted a 46.1% mark last year, which is a full ten percentage points above league average. His 12.2% barrel rate was more than five percentage points above league average.
Based on last years numbers, Brown should be in for some positive regression. If he's able to manage the strikeouts and have a bit better luck on contact, he should be a solid piece for the A's in 2024.