Brett Anderson is a free agent after the Colorado Rockies declined his $12 million option for the 2015 season last week. Could the team still push to sign him?
Watching Brett Anderson when he was right in 2014 conjured memories of Aaron Cook. Sometimes Anderson felt like a left-handed version of the best of what Cook used to bring in Colorado: he worked quickly, pounded the strike zone, and used a repertoire that seemed to have downward tilt on every single pitch.
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When it’s going right, this recipe for success is a pleasure to watch. Games go quickly, opponents are held to limited offense in Coors Field, and the bullpen gets a break.
It seems like we spend too much time talking about the Rockies trying to develop a bunch of pitchers with this make-up and approach. We look at how they need to find more guys who follow this formula. That sounds great in theory; the problem is, these pitchers aren’t exactly easy to find.
Ultimately, the Rockies are going to have to figure out a way to succeed with a number of different styles of pitching on their roster. They need to get better at prioritizing talent over style of pitcher. They need to do that with the understanding that they will never build a rotation of five effective ground-ball pitchers. But when they do have a chance to acquire, retain, or sign a pitcher who is truly a ground-ball machine, they need to get serious about it.
The Rockies weren’t wrong to decline a $12 million option for an injury-prone pitcher coming off back surgery and a season in which Anderson made only eight starts. That said, they should make a real push to sign Anderson to another deal this off-season. At the time that they declined the option, the team left the door open to bring Anderson back.
Maybe they will be outbid, and maybe Anderson does not want to return to Colorado by choice, but the Rockies need to make a good-faith effort to find out. Pitchers like Anderson are not easy to find, injury concerns or not. and it will feel like a waste if the Rockies do not get more than eight total starts out of him after making a significant trade to add him last winter.