Transaction season, baby! Let’s GO! The Blue Jays made their first splash of the off-season today, sending depth prospect Chad Spanberger to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for veteran starter Chase Anderson.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) November 4, 2019
This is… actually a really nice addition for the Jays. Spanberger is pretty much a nothing prospect at this point, it seems. The first baseman-slash-outfielder originally came over from the Colorado Rockies in the Seung-hwan Oh trade back in 2018 and slashed a .237/.308/.399 line in his first go-around at Double-A this season. Those numbers don’t aren’t very exciting for a bat-first 24-year-old.
In Anderson, the Jays get themselves a decent middle-of-the-rotation arm with some possible bounce-back upside. Anderson had a fairly meh 2019 season, posting a 4.21 ERA over 139 innings while striking out eight batters and walking 3.2 per nine. As meh as that is, it would have led Toronto’s rotation last year after Marcus Stroman was traded.
As recently as 2017, though, Anderson was very good in Milwaukee. He posted a 2.74 ERA that season, striking out 8.5 batters and walking 2.6 per nine. The big change between 2017 when he was good and 2019 when he wasn’t was the effectiveness of his curveball. In 2019, batters hit .342 against Anderson’s curve with a .763 slugging percentage, which was a huge step down from his 2017 season, in which batters hit .167 with a .222 slugging percentage.
If Anderson can bounce back and figure things out as he did in 2017, this is a massive addition to the rotation. Even if he doesn’t, and he does again what he did last year in Milwaukee, it’ll be a welcomed veteran addition to what currently is a very desolate looking starting rotation. The move is also fairly low risk, as Anderson is paid $8,500,000 in 2020 with a $9,500,000 team option for 2021 with a $500,000 buyout.
This shouldn’t be the end of Toronto’s off-season additions. As Ben Nicholson-Smith reports, the Jays only have about $38 million on the books after adding Anderson to the fold. The only major arb-eligible guy they have is Ken Giles, otherwise, the team is going to be dirt cheap this year. Anderson is a nice start, but the Jays really should add at least a couple more veteran starters this year to insulate their young pitchers.
Ideally, the Jays can add three veteran starters this winter. One of them is Anderson and could be Matt Shoemaker. That would leave Toronto with a rotation consisting of Anderson, Shoemaker, Another Guy, Ryan Borucki, and Trent Thornton, which keeps Anthony Kay, T.J. Zeuch, Jacob Waguespack, Sean Reid-Foley, and Nate Pearson in Triple-A.