Tyler Anderson may show to be a $ 2.5 million discount for Pittsburgh Pirates

Meanwhile, San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tyler Anderson throws at an Arizona Diamondbacks batsman … [+] the first inning of a baseball game in San Francisco on Saturday, August 22, 2020. (AP Photo / Tony Avelar)


Tyler Anderson could go from a non-tender in December to an ace in April.

While that sounds far-fetched, Anderson does not come under normal circumstances after signing a $ 2.5 million one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a free agent on Wednesday.

The left-hander became a free agent when the San Francisco Giants didn’t offer him a contract on Dec. 2 instead of holding a potential arbitration hearing with the 31-year-old. The previous winter, the Giants demanded him from the exemptions when the Colorado Rockies removed him from their 40-man roster.

Yes, it sounds pretty absurd to suggest that a pitcher on the other side of 30, sacked by two teams and having 22 career wins in five seasons, could be a # 1 starter. However, these are more victories than any other in the Pirates’ planned starting rotation.

The other three pitchers who are blocked have a combined 34 wins – Chad Kuhl (20), the left Steven Brault (12) and Mitch Keller (two). JT Brubaker, who has the insider track as the fifth starter, has a win.

Anderson has evolved from an undesirable to a potential stabilizer of the pitching personnel for the rebuilt pirates.

“We did some research on the person and came back with really positive things,” manager Derek Shelton said Wednesday after pitcher and catcher completed their first spring training session in Bradenton, Florida. “I had the opportunity to talk to him in detail today.” It’s nice to include him in the mix. “

Anderson understands that expectations of the pirates are low. USA Today predicts they will play between 57 and 105 this year, finishing with the worst record in the major leagues for the second year in a row.

However, his new teammates made a solid first impression on Anderson.

“The guys here are young but I saw four or five pens today when I was out there and there are some young guys but they’re bad,” Anderson said. “There is also a lot of talent. Of course, I haven’t seen a lot of guys in games yet, but a lot of these guys are really talented in my opinion and fun to watch. “

Of course, it’s one thing to throw a bullpen on the first day of spring training and another to attract the best players in the league at the start of the regular season. So time will tell if the rotation really has the knack for helping the pirates be a surprise team in 2021.

Despite his small winnings, there is reason to believe that Anderson could get a steal of $ 2.5 million. His career ERA + is 103, which means he was 3% better than the league average. While that doesn’t sound like much, the price for a jug of this caliber is right in the market today.

Anderson spent his first four seasons promoting the Rockies and playing his home games at Coors Field, a batsman’s paradise. He had an ERA of 4.69 in 73 games, including 71 starts, a respectable number considering his surroundings.

Anderson was solid for the Giants in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season too, setting a 4-3 record with 4.37 ERA in 11 games while calling pitcher-friendly Oracle ORCL Park at home.

This season he will play his home games at PNC Park, which is more neutral than Coors or Oracle.

“In pitcher-friendly parks, the chance that falling back and having an open base is less dangerous because you don’t worry that much about the longball,” said Anderson. “And many balls in the gaps may not go that far. So you have the option to choose your seats to throw a little more. For me, it’s fun because I love pitching, so it gives you the opportunity to work on this stuff. “

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