Colorado Rockies: Should they reunite with Tyler Anderson?

DENVER, COLORADO - APRIL 22: Starting pitcher Tyler Anderson #44 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field on April 22, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - APRIL 22: Starting pitcher Tyler Anderson #44 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field on April 22, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Former Colorado Rockies left-handed pitcher Tyler Anderson is a free agent after the San Francisco Giants non-tendered him so will the Rockies look at bringing him back?

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported on Monday night that former Colorado Rockies left-handed pitcher Tyler Anderson is “drawing significant early interest” from teams. Even though the Winter Meetings are virtual, they are being held currently so there will likely be more traction on his front this week.

Anderson, who will turn 31 in a few weeks, was drafted 20th overall by the Rockies in the 2011 draft and he made his MLB debut for the Rockies in 2016 when, in 19 starts, he pitched to a 3.54 ERA, a 3.59 FIP, and a 137 ERA+. He was also among the best in the league in barrel percentage against, exit velocity against, and hard-hit percentage. That was his best season as, in 2017, his ERA rose to 4.81 and he missed the final three months of the season due to a knee injury and arthroscopic surgery.

He pitched a full season in 2018 (32 starts) but he pitched to a 4.55 ERA, which was slightly above league average with his 104 ERA+. In 2019, though, he missed some time in spring training to lingering knee issues and after trying to pitch through the injury and having poor results (11.76 ERA in five starts), the Rockies shut him down in late April and he had knee surgery, ending his season.

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The Giants claimed Anderson off waivers last offseason and for them in 2020, he pitched to a 4.37 ERA (98 ERA+) with some poor peripheral stats (highest walk rate of his career excluding 2019, lowest strikeout rate.

Having those stats while pitching mainly in pitcher-friendly Oracle Park doesn’t bode well for Anderson but the Rockies should still try to bring him back for a few reasons.

First off, while the Rockies starting pitching is their strongest area, they do lack depth there, as they do at nearly every position, quite frankly. They also don’t have very many lefties and if he were to make the team but not the rotation, he could be a reliever in a bullpen that didn’t have a consistent left-hander whatsoever in 2020.

Anderson would also, likely, be able to sign to a 1-year deal or, perhaps, even a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training. The Rockies could make it an incentive-laden deal that could net Anderson more salary if he stays healthy and/or if achieves certain milestones as well. Anderson and the Rockies are obviously familiar with each other as well since he was in the Rockies system for nearly a decade.

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Bringing Anderson back could end up being a low-risk, high-reward option for the Rockies, and for a team that is really lacking in pitching depth and low on money, Anderson should be a good fit for both sides.

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