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Detroit Tigers Free Agent Review: Brett Anderson

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 22: Brett Anderson #25 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on September 22, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 22: Brett Anderson #25 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on September 22, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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As we draw closer to when pitchers and catchers report, the Detroit Tigers could use another starter in the rotation. Is lefty veteran Brett Anderson a good idea?

There are a few big names left on the free-agent market that will be going off the board within a few weeks. With the signings of José Ureña and Robbie Grossman, the Detroit Tigers have addressed at least two positions of need so far. Where they will go with as far as catching goes, we shall see how that unfolds in the upcoming weeks.

Last week during Tigers Talk, Detroit Tigers General Manager Al Avila on WXYT-FM (97.1),  discussed how pitching was top of their priority list as they ranked 52 free-agent pitchers. Based on how the movement has been on the free-agent pitching front, it is logical to conclude there is a lot of those names left.

Just listening to the audio from the interview, Detroit could go in several directions with the rotation.

As the cliche goes, you can never have enough pitching and that is where Brett Anderson could fit in.

2020 numbers in Milwaukee:  4.21 ERA, 4.81xERA, 32 K to 10 BB in 47 IP

Last season, Anderson made $5 million dollars for the Brewers. A blister on his finger that was a constant nuisance ended his season last year.  Let’s take a deeper look at his pitching offerings.

According to Baseball Savant, Anderson threw six different pitches in 2020.  A sinker, changeup, cutter, slider, curveball, and a four-seamer. What it appears, the cutter was a new pitch for him in 2020. One item to

Of these, he relies mainly on a sinker, slider, changeup, and curve. Interesting to note and you have to consider sample size in 2020, his slider usage dropped to around 11%. Normally, it hovers around 21% to 25%. The four-seam fastball usage went down significantly in 2020, compared to previous seasons.

Two things that could be considered “red flags” in 2020 were his hard hit contact, which was the highest it has ever been at 48.1%, and his walk rate that  Again, this is based on a short season and he had the blister that was pestering him.

Can he stay healthy? The Tigers’ recent history of signing pitchers to one-year deals has been prone to bad luck. (See Matt Moore, Ivan Nova, and Tyson Ross)  I mentioned the blister earlier but let’s go back a few seasons.

  • June 2017: Low back strain 60-day disabled list
  • May 2018: Left shoulder strain, 10-day disabled list
  • August 2018: Strained left forearm, 10-day disabled list

In 2019, he did not miss any time due to injuries, and that season, he threw 176 innings, the second-highest amount in his career.

The Tigers expressed an interest in Taijuan Walker earlier in the off-season and personally, that is who I would like Detroit to sign but it has been quiet on that front. He isn’t a strikeout pitcher, just a starter who can go out there every five days and provide Detroit innings. For a one-year deal to help a rotation out until the prospects can show up, this should be an affordable arm that the Tigers could use.

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