The Cleveland Indians added a powerful left handed bat to their lineup with Brandon Moss. Besides that Indians rumors have been pretty quiet. While the rival Detroit Tigers trade for what they think are upgrades and the Chicago White Sox trade and sign players to try to contend, the Indians have stayed silent. The Indians do not have to win the off-season to be a competitive team. The last time they did win before the season started netted us Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, two players who didn’t set the world on fire.
Yet the Indians will continue to look to upgrade their roster this off-season, looking especially for pitching. Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com noted that Brett Anderson could be a target for the Tribe this off-season:
"Could that desire lead them to yet another injured player in left-hander Brett Anderson?"
Anderson would be next in line for the Indians reclamation projects. Some have turned out great, Scott Kazmir still should be thanking the Indians for his big payday, and some not so much, Brett Myers laughing at the bank still.
The 26 year old Anderson is a big pitcher with 6 years experience and a ton of injuries. He had an impressive rookie campaign, 11 – 11 with a 4.06 ERA for the Oakland A’s. Since then his ERA has continue to look good but injuries have derailed most of his seasons. He started 19 games the next season, 2010, finishing 7-6 with a 2.80 ERA. In the four years since he has started 13, 6, 5 and 8 games.
Yet during that time, except for a bad 6.04 ERA in 2013 with the A’s, Anderson has put together a quality ERA. 4.00, 2.57 and 2.91 in 3 of those 4 years.
Last year he was with the Colorado Rockies, traded there for former Tribe phenom Drew Pomeranz and a minor leaguer. Anderson’s season was cut short in August when season ending back surgery was needed.
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Anderson is a big power guy who has lost some zip on his fastball. If the Indians give him a deal it would be in the hopes that the surgery, and time off, will help him regain some of his speed. The Tribe’s history with pitchers should help Anderson be attracted to Cleveland.
The Indians rotation is an interesting one. Cy Young winner Corey Kluber sits atop a very young, cheap staff. Carlos Carrasco had an amazing 2nd half, after spending time in the bullpen, but can he be counted on for a full season? Danny Salazar was the ace prospect in the playoffs two seasons ago but wasn’t able to build on that last year. Trevor Bauer has shown flashes of ace potential, followed by falling apart the next inning. T.J. House was a surprise last season with his 5-3 record and 3.35 ERA.
Signing Anderson would give the Tribe depth in their rotation, possibly forcing one of the younger pitchers into the bullpen. It would also protect them against a fall back to earth scenario with pitchers who haven’t exactly established themselves in the major leagues, besides Cy Kluber of course.
It will come down to price for Anderson and the Tribe. As with most off-seasons, pitchers are getting paid high figures this year and Anderson, even with his injury concerns, could be in line for a bigger payday than the Indians are willing to throw down for him.
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