Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Hello, Mr. Anderson

As the old adage goes, you can never have enough pitching.  The 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs had a phenomenal rotation in 2016, of which 4/5ths are coming back for 2017.  Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks were elite last year, while John Lackey makes for an over-achieving fourth man.  However, with Jason Hammel gone and Mike Montgomery, his presumptive replacement, being a relatively unknown quality, there are still some questions.

Furthermore, the Cubs rotation was unprecedentedly healthy last season - all five arms started 29 games or more.  There's simply no way that Theo & Co, can bank on that stability again.  There are few certainties in life - death, taxes, and pitchers get hurt.  As such, they've been on the hunt for pitching all throughout the offseason.

 "As you can see, we've had our eye on you for some time now, Mr. Anderson" - Agent Smith, The Matrix

Brett Anderson missed most of last season, with the Dodgers, due to back surgery and blister problems.  Furthermore, a foot injury, an oblique injury, and 2011 Tommy John surgery limited him to just about 320 innings from 2010 through 2014.  In short, he's been on and off the DL frequently since he came up with the Athletics in 2009.

That said, the Stillwater, Oklahoma native is still only 28 years of age and has been a quality arm when he does actually take the mound

"Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?"

As recently as 2015, in Los Angeles, Brett posted a 3.69 ERA in 180.1 innings, so there is hope for the young man, yet.  After a bullpen session in Arizona impressed the Cubs' brass, Anderson earned himself a one-year, $3.5 million contract to prove himself in the Friendly Confines. This could be a shrewd, bargain signing (a patented Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer pitching acquisition) or a swing and a miss - I guess only time will tell.

The new man in town will compete with Mike Montgomery for the fifth starter's position, with the loser taking up residence in the bullpen.  With a lack of MLB-ready arms in the upper minors and after having lost out on the Tyson Ross sweepstakes, some outside competition was certainly desired.

"Yes. That's it, Mr. Anderson. Look past the flesh..."

Although, it should be noted, that deal is not yet COMPLETELY finalized.  While both sides have agreed to terms, Brett still has to pass a physical in order for the contract to be official.  With Mr. Anderson's lengthy injury history, that's not a slam dunk.  His health records are certainly "rocky," to say the least.

The examination will take place in Chicago today and, for what it's worth, the pitcher in question seems fairly optimistic about the process:

Speaking of Brett Anderson and Twitter, I should probably address the elephant in the room.  During last year's NLCS, where the Cubs sealed their first National League pennant since 1945, over Brett's Dodgers, the fans got a little rambunctious.  Apparently, after the big Game 6 triumph, a few bad apples really got under the skin of the Cubs' newest pitcher:

(Warning - NSFW language)

"Mr. Anderson... you disappoint me."

His anger is certainly justified - however, heat of the moment tweeting is pretty much never a good idea.  While I'm certain that there is no long-term tension and he hold no ill will towards Cubs fans, in general, everything lives on forever, once it's been shared on the internet.

Anyway, as it stands, it seems likely that Brett Anderson will become the 2,055th man to suit up in Cubbie Blue.  With that in mind, one of the above, three cards that I pulled out of my trade stacks will go on to represent him in my CATRC binder.  Now, I just have to decide which one it will be.  Decisions, decisions.

Of course, if he flunks his physical, this could all be moot; but, I'm going to bet that he won't.  I guess we shall see.  Welcome to the Windy City, Brett!

1 comment:

  1. I'm not optimistic about him helping the Cubs in 2017 or down the road. The man just can't stay healthy.
    But, I do like how you tied all of this in with The Matrix. Well done!