Blue Jays: Brett Anderson a worthwhile gamble

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 06: Starting pitcher Brett Anderson
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 06: Starting pitcher Brett Anderson /

The Blue Jays made a series of roster moves on Monday, releasing Taylor Cole, and bringing up Tim Mayza to the big league roster. They also made a minor league signing, bringing veteran left-hander Brett Anderson to the fold.

The Blue Jays are starting to get interesting, as they’ve won the last two series against the Yankees and Pirates, and just took the opener of a four game set with the Tampa Bay Rays. For those of you who are just catching up, the Blue Jays closed the gap to just one game behind the struggling Rays, and have an opportunity to pass one team in the Wild Card standings, if the surge continues.

The front office is still working, both on this season and with an eye on the 2018 as well. They made a couple of minor moves on Monday, bringing up Tim Mayza for a shot in the bullpen, and releasing Taylor Cole from the 40 man roster. They also signed Brett Anderson, who is a veteran lefty who last pitched with the Cubs this season. He struggled to an 8.18 ERA in six starts, so the Cubs ultimately decided to go in another direction.

Anderson is a worthwhile gamble for the Blue Jays for a number of reasons. First of all, the old saying, “there’s no such thing as a bad minor league signing” is true, provided the player proves their worth in Triple A before making an appearance with the big league club. In Anderson’s case, he’s a talented pitcher who has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. There has always been plenty of upside, he just hasn’t been able to stay on the field.

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If he can report to Buffalo and look like the pitcher who went 10-9 with a 3.69 ERA in 31 starts for the Dodgers in 2015, or even better, maybe the guy who had a 2.80 ERA in 19 starts as a 22 year old back in 2010. That’s obviously a bit of a reach, but talent has rarely been the problem in his career, and he’s still just 29 years old.

He’s a great fit for the Blue Jays simply based on a need in the rotation. For now, the team has enjoyed solid stints from Nick Tepesch and Chris Rowley, but it’s hard to say how long that will last. Tepesch has bounced around the league for a few years and has mostly struggled, so I don’t know that the Blue Jays can expect him to consistently perform the way he did on Monday evening when he allowed just one run over six innings.

For now, the rotation features Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ, and Marco Estrada, with Tepesch and Rowley filling in for the injured Aaron Sanchez, and the recently traded Francisco Liriano. Joe Biagini is in Buffalo stretching out to re-join the rotation, so he’ll be able to help soon. However, if the Blue Jays find a reasonable trade for Estrada, then Biagini is simply filling that role. With their recent surge, it might be a tough sell from the front office to move Estrada this week, but there is still plenty of time in the month.

Anderson offers some insurance as a guy who has had success in the big leagues, and signed on a minor league deal. If they don’t end up needing him, then the cost was minimal. However, if they get a few starts down the stretch from the former second round pick, then it’s a nice low-cost move. Those never hurt, and who knows, maybe he’s a big addition for a late contender. Crazier things have happened.

Next: Blue Jays should lock up Estrada for next season