Chicago Cubs Rumors: Examining Tyler Anderson pursuit
The Chicago Cubs were involved in the bidding for free agent starting pitcher Tyler Anderson this offseason. The Los Angeles Angels officially announced on Wednesday that the team signed Anderson to a three-year deal worth $39 million. MLB Network insider Jon Morosi was on 670 The Score earlier this week and mentioned in passing that the Cubs were involved in the bidding for Anderson prior to his agreement with the Angels.
Anderson had a breakout season with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season as he posted a 2.57 ERA in 178.2 innings pitched. Anderson's xFIP, 4.11, seems to indicate that he was the benefactor of some luck during his time on the mound for the Dodgers in 2022. Anderson has a career ERA of 4.16, 4.30 xFIP, and the deal that he signed with the Angels was indicative of a team that believes he can repeat his 2022 performance in 2023.
In regards to the Cubs' interest in Anderson, it tips the front office's hand in regard to how they are pursuing upgrades to their starting rotation this offseason.
First and foremost, the Cubs clearly intend to contend in 2023. Signing a 32-year-old Anderson coming off a breakout season is not the type of move a team would make if their intent was to continue to rebuild. The move isn't even similar to the signing the Cubs made last offseason with starting pitcher Marcus Stroman as that was a move where Stroman could easily slot into the long-term future of the team once they are ready to contend. Given the cost it would require to sign Anderson, the move for the Cubs would not have been categorized as a sign-and-flip deal either. The move would signal the team wanting a clear upgrade to their starting rotation while having the goal of contending in 2023. That is an encouraging sign as it continues to add up with everything that the front office has said since the end of the season.
The Chicago Cubs dodged a bullet with missed Tyler Anderson pursuit.
The concern, however, is Anderson does not necessarily stand out from the starting pitchers that the Cubs already have on their pitching staff. Anderson's average fastball velocity has continued to drop since 2017 and has not touched over 91MPH since 2019.
Anderson found success this past season, in large part, due to his ability to induce ground ball outs. That is fine for a team as long as the team is not depending on the starting pitcher being at the top of their rotation. Therein lies the concern for the Cubs and their pursuit of starting pitching this offseason. The Cubs do not need a Tyler Anderson-type. The Cubs have that type already on their pitching staff with the likes of Stroman, Kyle Hendricks, and Hayden Wesneski. The Cubs need a top-of-the-rotation type and anything less than that would be a failure of the front office this offseason.