The Dodgers continue to add to their roster, announcing tonight that they have agreed to terms with Tyler Anderson on a one-year contract. It would be an $8 million guarantee that also contains an additional $500,000 in incentives if he goes over 100 innings next season.
Anderson was one of the best remaining options in a free agent rotation market that was mostly picked. The southpaw is coming off a decent season split between the Pirates and Mariners, in which he combined for a 4.53 ERA in 167 innings. Anderson averaged just over five innings per start, but he took the ball 31 times and was generally able to keep his team in games. He allowed three or fewer earned runs in all but five of his outings.
Signed by Pittsburgh on a $2.5 million guarantee last offseason, he has established himself as perhaps the most reliable member of the Bucs’ starting staff. In 18 outings, Anderson worked 103 1/3 frames with a 4.35 ERA. He was an obvious trade candidate as an impending free agent on a rebuilding team. After a reported deal with the Phillies fell through due to concerns over the medical evaluation of one of the prospects involved, the Pirates pivoted and sent him back to Seattle for prospects. Carter bins and Joaquin Tejada at the due date. Anderson spent the past two months with the M’s, performing well until a nine-point outburst against the Angels blew his overall numbers.
Anderson isn’t the strongest arm out there. His fastball averaged 90.6 mph last season and he knocked out 19.1% of opposing hitters below par. Still, he was adept at getting opponents to chase pitches outside the strike zone, and his mediocre strike percentage belied a solid 11.5% strike rate. That’s partly because batters have swung at him so often — among pitchers with over 100 innings, only Michael Wacha had a higher swing rate from his opponents – but Anderson nonetheless generated more puffs per swing inside the strike zone than the average starter.
In addition to prompting opponents to chase frequently, Anderson threw throws into the area at an above-average pace. These helped reduce his rides, as he handed out free passes at just 5.4% clip. He has been a low arm throughout his career and he has posted an ERA between 4.37 and 4.55 in each of his last three seasons (except for a 2019 campaign in which he was limited to five starts due to left knee problems). A flyball pitcher, Anderson has been prone to home run ball throughout his career. It also generates its fair share of pop-ups, and it’s generally adept at avoiding hard touches.
Anderson has started all but four of his 117 MLB appearances. He will likely join the late-rotation mix in Los Angeles, joining the offseason signee Andrew Heane, David Price and Tony Gonsolin among the options for Dave Roberts. Walker Buhler, Jules Urie and Clayton Kershaw will be the three best options from the start of the season. Trevor Bauer remains on the list, but his paid administrative leave was recently extended until April 16.
The $8 million guarantee only adds to an ever-growing payroll in Los Angeles. The Dodgers now have an estimated actual payroll of $282 million, according to Jason Martinez of Roster Resource. Their luxury tax ledger is $284 million, just $6 million less than the highest penalty level.
Because they topped CBT last season, the Dodgers will be subject to escalating fees as second payers. They will be taxed at a rate of 30% for each dollar spent between $230 million and $250 million, a rate of 42% on excess between $250 million and $270 million, a rate of 75% on overages between $270 million and $290 million and a 90% tax rate on all expenditures over $290 million.
Robert Murray of Fan Sided first reported that the Dodgers and Anderson had agreed to a deal. Fabian Ardaya of Athletic reported that it was a one-year pact. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported the $8 million guarantee, while MLB Network’s Jon Heyman was first with the incentives.
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