The Blue Jays began their work on adding to their starting rotation depth, acquiring Chase Anderson from the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.
It looks like Ross Atkins and the rest of the Blue Jays’ front office are already working at improving the roster this off-season as they made their first addition on Monday.
According to both MLB Insider Rob Murray and TSN’s Scott Mitchell, it sounds like the Blue Jays will acquire Chase Anderson in exchange for minor league first baseman, Chad Spanberger, a relatively small price to pay for a serviceable MLB starter. That said, the report also indicated that the Brewers were likely to pass on exercising Anderson’s 8.5 million dollar option for 2020, so it makes sense that they got something for him rather than cutting him loose for nothing.
Anderson wasn’t bad at all for the Brew Crew in 2019, posting an 8-4 record to go with a 4.21 ERA and a 1.266 WHIP in 27 starts and 32 overall appearances, good for 1.7 bWAR. That was down from his production over 2017-18, but it’s still a bit of a surprise that he would be available for the reasonable acquisition cost.
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His best season came in 2017 when he went 12-4 with a 2.74 ERA across 25 starts, posting a 1.090 WHIP. It looked as though he could be a fixture in the Brewer’s rotation for a while, but a lot has changed since then. They’ve been a playoff contender for the last couple of seasons, and there’s a good chance they’ll hope to pursue a championship again in 2020, and they may need to spend their money elsewhere in order to move the needle enough to make the next jump.
For the Blue Jays, the soon to be 32-year-old Anderson is exactly what they need right now, even if he’s not the type of headline-grabber that fans are hoping for this off-season. There’s no doubt the Blue Jays needed some serviceable starters whether they pursue a top-end option or not, and Anderson should provide that. He’s averaged just over 27 starts over the last three seasons, and getting 150 or more innings from him next season will take a lot of pressure off of the bullpen and also from Charlie Montoyo‘s job as the skipper.
If things go well, there’s also a chance that Anderson could be the type of arm that could be flipped sometime next summer before the trade deadline. He’s not on an expiring contract, but after making 8.5 million in 2020 the Blue Jays (or someone else) will have an option for 2021 at 9.5 million, including a $500,000 buyout. It seems like a fair risk for the Blue Jays, and an acquiring club could feel the same way whether they plan to use his 2021 option or not.
Hopefully the Blue Jays are just beginning their work on improving their rotation this off-season, and even if Anderson isn’t the type that will turn them into a playoff contender, it’s not a bad place to start.