Lost in the shuffle behind superstar arms like Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw and others is another Los Angeles left-hander poised to hit free agency this winter in Tyler Anderson.
You’d never know it unless you’re a Dodgers fan, but the southpaw had an ace-caliber year this season. The only reason he seems to be flying under the radar right now is because Los Angeles itself is stacked with the best rotation in baseball. It’s easy to fly under the radar when you’re surrounded by the likes of Kershaw, Julio Urias, Walker Buehler (though injured this year) and Tony Gonsolin. On nearly any other team, the Cubs especially, Anderson is at the front of the rotation with a season anywhere close to the one he just had.
For the year, Anderson posted career-bests in just about every category. For starters, he dominated with the lowest ERA of his career, 2.57, while also notching his highest total in innings with 178 2/3. The lefty also earned the first All-Star honors of his career in 2022. At the break, he had a 2.96 ERA and if that isn’t impressive enough, he followed it up nicely with a 2.10 mark in the second half. Anderson’s 3.31 FIP suggests some good defense (and maybe some luck) behind him, but all told, he was in that top-tier category and was a true innings eater for the duration of the season.
Cubs could go the cost-effective route with Tyler Anderson
With all the talk of Carlos Rodon being a target for the Chicago Cubs, I think the front office should at least do its due diligence on Anderson here. Sure, 2022 was a career year that may or may not be replicated, but he’s not going to break the bank and if he comes anywhere near to what he did this year, it’s a win. In 2022, the 32-year-old Anderson earned just $8 million on a one-year deal with the Dodgers and though he was mightily effective this season, he is not a pitcher that is going to command a long-term, high AAV deal moving forward either.
Injury history wise, it’s encouraging to see not much else besides a left knee issue in the past for Anderson. In fact, the last time he was on the IL was in 2019 when he landed on the 60-day for a left knee chondral defect. Since then, it has been smooth sailing for the southpaw. Though the ERA was up in 2021, he still pitched 167 innings total between Seattle and Pittsburgh before electing free agency and landing with the Dodgers last winter.
Whether or not the Cubs make a run at Anderson may very well hinge on what the team’s pitching infrastructure deciphers in his breakout performance this year. Prior to this stellar 2022 season, his career ERA sat at 4.62. Given the Dodgers have a full rotation of guys with an ERA in the 2.00s, perhaps their solid coaching staff is what helped Anderson revitalize his career. I highly doubt he just somehow had a career year on a team that happened to be great and the stars just aligned for the Dodgers. Clearly something has clicked for him. With that being said, he may be the perfect candidate for the Cubs front office to do some “intelligent spending” on this winter.