Chase Anderson, one of the Blue Jays’ new starting pitchers, made an appearance on MLB radio on Friday, expressing a lot of optimism about his new team.
The Blue Jays made some significant upgrades to their roster this off-season, and when you combine that with the emerging young talent that was already in Toronto, the future has a chance to be very bright for this franchise.
The narrative has certainly become more positive among the fan base, and it’s been encouraging to hear the same from several of the Blue Jay players as well. One of their newest additions made an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM on Friday, and expressed all kinds of optimism. That would be Chase Anderson, who arrived from the Milwaukee Brewers via a trade that took place back on Nov 4th of last year, essentially kicking off Ross Atkins’ work in re-tooling the rotation.
Anderson is coming from a Brewers team that qualified for the NL postseason for the last two years. One on hand, you might expect that the right-hander could be a little bummed out about being traded from a contender to more of a rebuilding club. However, Anderson let it be known that he’s more than aware of the talented foundation in Toronto, and he sounds like he’s genuinely excited to be a part of it.
"“With Bo Bichette, Vlad Jr., Cavan Biggio, and you know, having Randal Grichuk there for long-term, the core there is real strong, really young, especially on the offensive side of the ball, like I said. With adding Ryu, myself, Roark, and having Shoemaker healthy, and then a battle for that 5th spot with Nate Pearson coming up through the system and almost big league ready, yeah I’m looking forward to the season”."
Anderson is speaking from a place of understanding about where the Blue Jays were last season. They badly needed help in their starting rotation, and they added it by signing Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Shun Yamaguchi, bringing back a healthy Matt Shoemaker, and trading for Anderson. That’s a significant improvement in one winter, and the difference should be palpable.
Anderson also sees the potential in the young core of his new team, mentioning Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero, Cavan Biggio, Nate Pearson and Randal Grichuk by name, and knowing that despite the fact that he’s joining a team made up of largely MLB sophomores, this is a squad with real potential.
"“I think we’re going to be a better team than people think. It kinda reminds me of the 2017 Brewers with a little bit more high profile players. We were one game from the Wild Card that year, so I think this team has a good chance of competing. I know the division is tough, but so is the NL Central. The Yankees are the Yankees, they’re going to be a really good team this year, the Rays, ourselves, the Red Sox, it’s going to be a tough division but like I said, this is going to be a new challenge for me. I’m looking forward to pitching the AL East and really trying to figure out how to navigate those offensive lineups, with nine hitters instead of eight.”"
Again, Anderson is clearly aware of what he’s now facing as a member of the Blue Jays, and the challenges of pitching in the AL East. Not only do the Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox have imposing lineups, but the division also hosts some of the best hitter’s parks in baseball as well, which doesn’t help a pitcher’s cause. Still, the former Brewer sounds excited about the new challenges ahead of him, and he’s clearly doing his research and mentally preparing for the upcoming year.
He was never going to say otherwise when asked about the upcoming season, but based on his responses I feel like Anderson is genuine with what he’s saying. He could be a “one and done” type with the Blue Jays, but with a contract option for 2021 and only 32 years old, he also sees the opportunity ahead for this club and he’ll look to impress his new teammates, coaches, and front office staff.