The Colorado Rockies need to shore up the back end of the rotation and many are pointing to Colorado’s need to sign a veteran as part of this plan.
If the Rockies were to ink Anderson, it would be the second time the left-hander has been a part of the organization. Colorado received Anderson from the Oakland A’s (along with cash) on December 10, 2013, for pitchers Chris Jensen and Drew Pomeranz.
The following season, Anderson went 1-3 in eight starts covering 43.1 innings and posted a 2.91 ERA. It was a good season, but it was also injury-filled as Anderson suffered through a broken fingers, back spasms and a herniated disk in his back to miss much of the season. The Rockies declined Anderson’s $12 million option after the season.
"As was noted on Rox Pile at the time, “Sometimes Anderson felt like a left-handed version of the best of what (Aaron) 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.“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.”"
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It all sounds good, right? Well, except for the injuries, of course … and there have been plenty of those during Anderson’s career. He will be 32 when the 2020 season begins but he is coming off what could arguably be the best (and healthiest) campaign of his 11-year career.
Back with Oakland last season, Anderson went 13-9 with a 3.81 ERA and threw 176 innings (second-most of his career) in a career-high-tying 31 starts. He also paced the American League with a ground-ball rate of 54.5 percent and lowered his career ERA to 4.05 ERA in 188 games (176 starts).
After making just $1.5 million last season, Anderson will likely be due for a raise in 2020. However, his salary still would likely fit into Colorado’s tight payroll outlook for next season.
Last season in Oakland, Anderson reverted back to the pitcher that Rockies fans enjoyed watching in limited time in 2014. If Colorado chooses to pursue him, it is a high-risk (because of the possibility of injuries), high-reward proposition.
The high reward? An Anderson who performs as he did last year would be a solid addition to a rotation that will feature Kyle Freeland and German Marquez (both looking to bounce back from less-than-stellar season) and Jon Gray (coming off a solid campaign that was cut short by injury).
The high risk? An Anderson who succumbs to injury would throw Colorado’s rotation into a situation similar to last season when the Rockies used a patchwork starting five and ate into its bullpen too soon in too many contests.
A final thought? Let’s go back to the 2014 article on Rox Pile…
"“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.”"
Will this be the season Anderson sees his ninth start as a member of the Rockies? If the price is right and the confidence in his health is there, don’t be surprised if that’s the case.