An injury-prone pitcher joining an injury-prone starting staff? What could possibly go wrong?
In fact, if the latest word from Susan Sussler of SFGate.com is to be believed, the Toronto Blue Jays‘ ongoing pursuit of Oakland Atheltics‘ Brett Anderson is basically a match made in heaven. That can be taken in both a positive and negative way, I suppose, but talk about a GM not being able to get away from the lure of young, high-upside types that might have fallen out of favour with their clubs, eh?
For Anderson, he bring the extra wrinkle of being very unfortunately familiar with the DL, so I’m sure he’ll fit right in with Brandon Morrow, (potentially) Josh Johnson, and whoever else that’s due to be injured for the bluebirds in 2014. While there haven’t been too many questions pointed towards the team’s pitching coaches, you’d have to think that their history with broken pitchers would make the potential acquisition for the 25-year old a disaster waiting to happen.
The again, on the other hand, the lefty could also give the Blue Jays exactly what they’ve been yearning for these last few years …
See, it’s actually really easy to see why Alex Anthopoulos has apparently been undeterred on Anderson all this time. Armed with a fastball and a devastating slider, the two-time Opening Day starter for the A’s has undeniable ace talent. The folks in Oakland have seen it (though not so much in the last couple of years), the team knows it, and there is a plenty good reason why Billy Beane is likely to pick up the pitcher’s $8 million option despite him having thrown all but 79.2 innings in the last two seasons.
Besides, as injury-prone as Anderson has been, most of his issues would appear to be isolated from each other, and are more products of bad luck (an oblique injury coming off Tommy John surgery in 2012, an ankle sprain which turned into a fracture that ate up most of his 2013? Someone hasn’t been saying his thanks to the baseball gods) than anything potentially sustained over the long term.
The big thing — his arm — has been taken care of, and while the Blue Jays are the first team to know that Tommy John isn’t a magic cure (just ask Kyle Drabek), Anderson has shown no arm issues since returning from his surgery.
Besides, if there is ever a time that the Athletics are going to be motivated to part ways with their former ace, you’d have to think it’s now, right? I mean, the organization is going to say the right things about how they anticipate him being in the rotation next year and so on, but is there any more of an indictment than making him the odd man out in the starting rotation as the team was in the middle of a playoff run down the stretch?
Fortune favours the bold, and if Blue Jays can acquire the southpaw without giving up a huge chunk of the farm, the risk they take here might just pay off. It wouldn’t be the most question-free rotation in the league, but if they could partner Anderson with another mid-range acquisition of a plan B (Scott Feldman?), that would potentially help the staff in 2014 more for less than what another team will might pay a marquee name (like Max Scherzer or David Price) for a year.
Though many things can definitely go wrong in this picture, the bottom line actually remain rather simple.
There aren’t a whole lot of young pitchers with demonstrated big-league ace upside which are readily available for $8 million (and whatever the trade cost is personnel-wise, plus what I’d assume to be an extension for not too much more). If the Blue Jays could land on a complete season from Anderson for once, the risk would be well worth it.
So even if it seems like a deja vu waiting to happen, this is an opportunity that, if actually available, the Blue Jays shouldn’t pass up on.