Could The Indians be After Brett Anderson?
With Scott Kazmir on his way to Oakland the Indians are in need of a starting pitcher to fill the void he has left behind. As luck would have it, the A’s are now in the market to shop one of their starting pitchers. Enter Brett Anderson.
At 6′ 4″ and 235 Lbs, Anderson is a physical specimen, the type of pitcher old-time scouts would drool over. Throw in the fact that he is left-handed and still only 25 years old and he becomes an instant long-term solution for any team looking to fill out their starting rotation. As an added bonus, Anderson also has 79 big league starts under his belt so any team looking to acquire his services gets a big league ready pitcher.
For his career to date, Anderson has posted a 3.81 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and averaged 9.1 hits, 7.1 strikeouts, and .8 home runs per nine innings of work. He has also posted a strikeout to walk ratio of 2.98. His batting average on ball in play is hovering right around league average at .307.
Apr 19, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Brett Anderson (49) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
However, the one down side of Brett Anderson is that after making 30 starts during his debut season in 2009, Anderson has failed to make more than 19 starts in any of the past four seasons thanks largely in part to a rather lengthy list of injuries. During 2009 Anderson began experiencing forearm soreness, but did not miss any starts. In 2010, forearm troubles reappeared and he was forced to miss half the season with a muscles strain.
In 2011, Anderson experienced the biggest injury setback a pitcher can face, but one that has become all too common place. After making 13 starts during the 2011 season he was shelved and underwent Tommy John surgery. More than 13 months later, Anderson reappeared in the big leagues and made six starts before landing himself back on the DL with an oblique strain. Finally, Anderson returned in 2013 and made six appearances before suffering a stress fracture in his foot that would keep him sidelined until August.Upon his return, the A’s used him solely out of the bullpen.
Needless to say, there is a bit of baggage there, but nothing that can’t be overcome or that should be cause for concern. As it stands right now, a handful of teams are in the running for Anderson’s services. Among them are the Indians, Mariners, Yankees, and Blue Jays. With two years of team control left on his current contract, both of which are team options valued at $8-million and $12-million apiece, it may take a decent package but not one that would be crippling.
It is being reported that the A’s are looking for bullpen depth first and foremost in any deal involving Brett Anderson. Given the current state of the Indians farm system, there are any number of arms readily available that could be included in a potential trade. The added benefit is that, again, a trade of that nature would not be crippling. Add in the fact that the Indians could potentially acquire a 25-year-old left-handed starter with two years of team control left and it becomes a no brainer.
However, there is the off-chance that one of the other teams mentioned could up the ante and drive up the price to pry Brett Anderson away from the A’s. So while Anderson makes sense for a coupled of bullpen arms and a lottery ticket guy, it doesn’t make much sense if the Indians have to begin diving into their upper level position prospects or even members of the big league roster.
Regardless, the possibility of acquiring Anderson is intriguing to say the least. If the price is right, the Indians should go ahead and make the move. As a low risk, high reward acquisition, Brett Anderson could very well be the 2014 version of Scott Kazmir for the Indians.