With exactly three weeks remaining until 2022 Opening Day, fans of the Dodgers wonder if the team is finished making significant roster moves, particularly regarding the starting rotation.
There were a few minor moves on Friday as the team took another shot with veteran southpaw Danny Duffy and 32-year-old lefty Tyler Anderson. Duffy’s in the same boat as he was last year with an injury, but there’s a pretty good chance that Anderson could step right into the team’s starting rotation, at least until Trevor Bauer’s fate is decided.
The thing about Anderson is that he doesn’t have any options, so he’s likely to stay on the big-league roster until he proves himself ineffective. He’s a starter by trade, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he can’t contribute as a reliever at some point. Over 117 major league appearances, the 6-foot-2 Las Vegas native has made 113 starts.
What’s even more interesting is if Anderson starts the year in the rotation, we could see four lefties featured beside righty Walker Buehler, including Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, Andrew Heaney and Anderson. Obviously, there are a handful of contenders for the final rotation spot — see Tony Gonsolin and David Price — but Anderson has as good a shot as any.
Bauer will remain on paid administrative leave until April 16, as commissioner Rob Manfred’s name has become overwhelmingly synonymous with the word “procrastination.” Even if Bauer is reinstated, it’s hard to say how long he’ll need to get ready.
Regardless, there’s nothing overwhelmingly appealing about Anderson aside from the fact that he’s consistently average, which may be a bit below the Dodgers’ standards. He hasn’t been on the disabled list since the summer of 2019, and that lasted most of the year because of surgery to fix a chondral defect in his knee. He has shown the propensity to eat a few innings, as indicated by his 176 frames thrown in 2018 and 167 pitched last year.
Splitting last season between the Pirates and the Mariners, the former 2011 first-round draft pick of the Rockies went 7-11 with a 4.53 ERA, a 4.52 FIP and a 1.319 WHIP over 31 starts. Those numbers were right on pace with his career 4.62 ERA, 4.43 FIP and 1.315 WHIP averages.
As pointed out by our friend Anthony Franco over at MLBTR, Anderson doesn’t throw terribly hard. Last year, Anderson’s heater averaged just 90.6 MPH, a few ticks down from the MLB average of 92.5 MPH.
Nevertheless, Anderson is a control artist and uses a repertoire consisting of a four-seam, a sinker a cutter, a change and an occasional curveball.