Tag: Brett Anderson

Brett Anderson Injury: Updates on Dodgers P’s Back and Return

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson is nursing a back injury that will require surgery, and it is uncertain when he will be able to return to action.

Continue for updates.

Anderson to Undergo Surgery

Wednesday, March 2

Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reported that Anderson will miss three to five months after undergoing the procedure.

Anderson Once Again Experiencing Back Issues

MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick pointed out that Anderson underwent back surgery in 2014. According to McCullough, the procedure two years ago was for a herniated disk.

Anderson rebounded from an injury-plagued 2014 to pitch a career-high 180.1 innings while notching a 10-9 record and 3.69 ERA last season.

“We saw the dedication [last year] to the core and back program, which gave us confidence that that would be behind him,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said, per McCullough. “And felt really good about the risk that we took last year. We’re optimistic that there’s even another gear in there.”

The fact that Anderson’s back has flared up again is a cause for concern.

The matter is compounded by the fact that L.A.’s pitching staff is dealing with several medical issues at the moment, per NBC Sports’ Drew Silva:

Considering Anderson’s confidence was on the rise following a healthy and productive first season in Los Angeles, it’s unfortunate for the Dodgers that he has taken a step back at this juncture in 2016.

Another back injury will also hurt Anderson’s potential earning power. The southpaw told the Los Angeles TimesDylan Hernandez he passed up “some multiyear offers” over the fall, instead opting to sign a one-year qualifying offer with the Dodgers.

Now a prospective free agent following the 2016 season, Anderson will need to return from the procedure and perform at a high level to try to snag another long-term contract.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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With Brandon McCarthy’s 2015 Over, Dodgers Must Make Moves to Address Rotation

It’s a good thing the Los Angeles Dodgers have arguably the best one-two pitching punch in Major League Baseball with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke atop their staff. They’re going to need it.

In the wake of the lingering-since-spring-training left-shoulder injury to southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu, expected to be the club’s third starter, and the more recent, more severe season-ending elbow tear suffered Saturday night by No. 4 starter Brandon McCarthy, the contending Dodgers are going to have to address their rapidly eroding rotation.

And probably sooner than later, as Bill Plunkett of the Los Angeles Times puts it:

McCarthy, who signed a lucrative contract with L.A. as a free agent this past offseason, left his outing over the weekend in the sixth inning of a game the Dodgers eventually won over the San Diego Padres.

Immediately after throwing a pitch that Justin Upton hit for a home run, the tall righty began to shake his right arm and then called the club’s coaching staff and trainers out to the mound. After a brief discussion, McCarthy came out.

“I expected [McCarthy] to go on the DL [Monday], but we thought more along the lines of tendinitis than something like [a torn ulnar collateral ligament],” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Monday in his interview with reporters. “I felt like that’s what I was going to hear, then we would have to fill [in for McCarthy] for a little bit of time and get back to it. But obviously, the news was not good.”

The expectation is that McCarthy will need to undergo Tommy John surgery, per Earl Bloom of MLB.com, which could keep him out through the first half of 2016.

Meanwhile, the NL West-leading Dodgers (12-7) are merely very early in the first half of 2015, and already a team that has won the division each of the past two years and has World Series hopes needs to be searching for pitching depth either internally or possibly via trade between now and July 31.

Oh, and the Dodgers also have to keep their fingers crossed that Kershaw and Greinke can sustain the status quo as two of the sport’s very best and most durable.

After those two, the only other pitcher projected to be a part of the rotation at the outset of the season is Brett Anderson, who might well be the most injury-prone starting pitcher in baseball in recent years.

Over the previous three seasons, the 27-year-old left-hander has made just 19 starts and thrown all of 123 innings—combined. Anderson more or less is a disabled-list stint waiting to happen, but now the Dodgers need him to be a somewhat stable third option behind the top two.

That is, at least until Ryu returns. The 28-year-old Korean lefty, who was both good and steady in his first two seasons, is making progress but very slowly as he comes back from a shoulder impingement. Ryu threw 20 pitches off a mound Sunday in his first action since being shut down in mid-March, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.

As for McCarthy, it’s not like he has been the pillar of health, which is why it was surprising to many when the Dodgers inked him not only for $48 million but also for four years this winter.

The 31-year-old has pitched in parts of 10 seasons in the majors, and only last year did McCarthy finally make it past 25 starts and over 175 innings in a single one. He has been on the DL a Ferris Bueller-like nine times.

Still, the Dodgers, in all likelihood, could have been anticipating some sort of ailment or injury for McCarthy—just not one of the season-ending variety. And certainly not after just four starts.

That leaves Mattingly and, especially, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to scramble to find a way to make up for about, oh, 28 turns and 180 or so innings. And that’s just for McCarthy.

A peek at L.A.’s 40-man roster shows the following names as potential fill-ins, at least in the short term:

  • Scott Baker, a 33-year-old veteran who sports a 4.24 career ERA and who last made even 10 starts in 2011
  • Mike Bolsinger, who already has made one start for the Dodgers in 2015 but otherwise is 27 years old and in his third season at Triple-A
  • Zach Lee, 23, the club’s first-round pick in 2010 who is off to a strong start at Oklahoma City (1.00 ERA, 0.84 WHIP) but who has yet to debut and is considered a mid-rotation arm at best
  • Joe Wieland, a 25-year-old the Dodgers acquired along with Yasmani Grandal from the Padres in the Matt Kemp deal who has 39 career innings in the majors

There’s also Brandon Beachy, the once-promising Atlanta Braves right-hander who is trying to return from a second Tommy John surgery by this summer.

In other words: not a whole heck of a lot. Until Friedman can come up with a more stable solution, expect the above four to be on call, possibly shuttling back and forth between L.A. and OKC.

Longer term, there’s at least a possibility, it would seem, that top prospect/phenom Julio Urias could be called upon at some point.

But even if the precocious left-hander continues tearing up Double-A at age 18 (20.2 IP, 13 H, 5 ER, 26:3 K:BB), that likely wouldn’t happen until after the All-Star break. And even then, maybe only if things don’t get better for Ryu or go south once again for Anderson. Baseball America managing editor JJ Cooper offered this about Urias:

That leaves external options via trade. There will be—scratch that, there already is, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times—chatter and speculation about the usual suspects, like Johnny Cueto of the Cincinnati Reds, Jordan Zimmermann of the Washington Nationals or Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies. And any of those three, among others, are possible targets down the line.

But the Friedman-led front office has indicated in the past that there’s no interest in trading one of the franchise’s top two building-block prospects, shortstop Corey Seager or Urias, when both are massive talents on the verge of helping the big league club at minimal cost. Such a big-name pitcher is going to require a big-time return. Says USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale:

Could desperation in the form of a setback with Ryu or another injury to Anderson—or worse, Kershaw or Greinke—change that? Sure, but that remains to be seen.

Perhaps rather than honing in on another star starter, the Dodgers would be better served targeting one or two capable mid-rotation arms. Someone like Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Kyle Lohse, Oakland Athletics lefty Scott Kazmir or Reds righty Mike Leake, to name a few.

None of those three are sexy superstars the Dodgers have come to be associated with, but they’re all proven pitchers who would be major improvements over what L.A. currently is calling the back end of its rotation. What’s more, all three are free agents after the season, which would make them much easier gets, and that’s up Friedman’s alley.

Besides, with a one-two like Kershaw and Greinke, and with Ryu eventually as the No. 3, the Dodgers don’t need another star-caliber starter. They do, however, need innings.


Statistics are accurate through Monday, April 27, and courtesy of MLB.comBaseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

To talk baseball or fantasy baseball help, hit me up on Twitter: @JayCat11

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Early Grades for the Dodgers’ Offseason Acquisitions

The Los Angeles Dodgers made headlines this offseason with a flurry of personnel moves. Three weeks into the 2015 season, these recent additions have provided varying contributions.

Although the sample size is still relatively small, we’ve decided to hand out an April report card for the newest Boys in Blue.

This evaluation follows the order in which Los Angeles acquired these players during the winter.

All stats courtesy of ESPN.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

Begin Slideshow

Grading the Brett Anderson Trade for Oakland A’s, Colorado Rockies

Attention, everyone. One of the more notable left-handers on the trade market has been dealt.

No, not David Price. It’s Brett Anderson who’s been traded.

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com was first with the terms of the deal between the Oakland A’s and Colorado Rockies:

Per Cot’s Baseball Contracts, Anderson is owed $8 million for 2014. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says that the A’s are sending $2 million to Colorado to cover part of that.

OK, so not quite a blockbuster Price deal, but that doesn’t mean there’s no intrigue here. And since dishing out grades is the only way to respond to intriguing trades, that’s what we’re going to do.


For the Oakland A’s

There was a time not too long ago when Oakland’s rotation consisted of Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin, Sonny Gray, Dan Straily and then an open spot. Anderson was a candidate to fill that spot.

But then the A’s signed Scott Kazmir, rounding out their rotation and forcing Anderson into the “rotation depth” pile alongside Tommy Milone.

Of the two, Anderson’s the guy who had trade value; in large part, one figures, because of the success he enjoyed earlier in his career when he pitched to a 115 ERA+ between 2009 and 2011 before injuries took their toll. Rather than keep him around, taking advantage of that value is something the A’s would do.

In return for Anderson, the A’s have gotten a former top prospect. Pomeranz was the fifth overall pick of the 2010 draft, he and was the centerpiece of the deal that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to the Cleveland Indians in 2011. At the end of the year, Baseball America had him down as Colorado’s No. 1 prospect.

Since then, however, Pomeranz‘s work in the majors looks like this:

Those 2012 numbers? Pretty bad. Those 2013 numbers? A lot worse.

And that’s not all. Pomeranz also had a 4.65 ERA in the minors and was on the disabled list from July to September with biceps tendinitis. It was the second year in a row his once-prized left arm had acted up on him, as he also dealt with a biceps issues in 2012.

All the same, Pomeranz is hardly a lost cause at the age of 25. And while he and Anderson are right around the same age, a major difference between the two is that Pomeranz is controllable through 2018. Anderson is controllable only through 2015, and that would require picking up his $12 million option.

In addition to the controllability, what the A’s are getting in Pomeranz are some reasons to be optimistic.

Brooks Baseball can show that Pomeranz has shown better velocity the last two years than he did in 2011, and the problem he experienced with home runs over a small sample in 2013 obscures the fact that he had a 50.8 ground-ball percentage.

Lastly, there’s the obvious: Pomeranz doesn’t have to worry about pitching at Coors Field anymore. His new home park will now be O.co Coliseum, which is one of the best pitchers’ parks in the majors thanks to its big outfield and excess of foul ground. 

As for the other piece the A’s got in this deal, Chris Jensen looks like a throw-in. He’s a right-hander the Rockies drafted in the sixth round back in 2011 and has only advanced as far as High-A. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com didn’t have him among Colorado’s top 20 prospects.

So for the A’s, it’s mainly a reclamation lefty for a reclamation lefty, with the main attraction being more time to develop the new guy into something than there was with the old guy.

And hey, if Pomeranz doesn’t cut it as a starter, the A’s could always try him as a reliever. As a fastball-curveball pitcher with some zip on his heat, it’s a role he’s well-profiled for. At worst, his .457 career OPS vs. lefty batters makes him a candidate to be a LOOGY (Lefty One-Out GuY).

Call it short-term upside for some long-term upside. With a deep pitching staff that was already well-equipped to win in 2014, it’s a deal the A’s could afford to make.

Grade: B


For the Colorado Rockies

Pomeranz was in the same situation as Anderson not too long ago, as the Rockies had four solid starters and then an opening at the back end of their rotation.

Things got more complicated once the Rockies acquired Jordan Lyles as part of the Dexter Fowler trade. Colorado still could have kept Pomeranz in hopes that he would emerge in spring training. But given how much his value has fallen, you can’t blame the Rockies for taking what they could get for him.

And in Anderson, they’ve acquired a guy who can help them in the short-term.

Anderson has had a rough go of it recently in his own right, missing most of 2011 and 2012 recovering from Tommy John surgery and a good chunk of 2013 with a right ankle injury. When he was able to pitch, he pitched to a 6.04 ERA in 16 appearances.

But if we use FanGraphs to take a closer look at Anderson’s performances since his return from Tommy John, we see:

Anderson’s fastball sat at 92.1 miles per hour in 2010 and 90.9 in 2011, so he hasn’t been missing an excess of velocity since his return. Good news, that.

What’s even better are those ground-ball rates. Picking up ground balls was something Anderson was getting better at even before he went in for Tommy John, and he hasn’t quit since his return. In fact, the progression of his GB% is as sexy as it gets.

With all those ground balls, Anderson didn’t deserve a 17.9 HR/FB rate or a 6.04 ERA. His FIP and xFIP are much more encouraging, with his xFIP notably being very similar to the one he posted in 2012.

The Rockies must have noticed that, but I’m guessing they would have made this move if they looked only at the ground balls. Those are good everywhere, but they’re an especially good way to overcome the thin air and ginormous gaps of Coors Field.

And the Rockies, for the record, quietly embraced a ground-ball movement in 2013. Only the Pirates and Cardinals saw their pitchers rack up a better GB% than Colorado pitchers.

In light of that, Anderson fits into what the Rockies are trying to do on the field. His contract, meanwhile, is something they can be rid of as soon as after 2014 if he crashes and burns. 

It will be a bust if it comes to that, especially if Pomeranz ends up finding himself in Oakland. But if the plan in Colorado is to contend in 2014, the Rockies do have a better chance of doing that with Anderson in the mix than they would have with Pomeranz.

And since there’s more immediate upside for the Rockies than there is for the A’s, I’ll go ahead and give them the edge in the grading. Somebody has to get it, after all.

Grade: B+


Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted/linked.


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MLB Rumors: Latest Trading Block Buzz on Big-Name Pitchers

Owners and general managers from all 30 MLB teams will convene in Orlando, Fla., starting on Monday for the four-day winter meetings that could include more big deals.

This past week has been a busy one for offseason MLB player movement, and there are still many high-profile trade candidates who could be moved in the near future. Here are the latest rumblings regarding three of the top pitchers available on the trade market.


LHP David Price

After reportedly agreeing to a 10-year, $240 million deal with Robinson Cano on Friday, the Seattle Mariners still have big things in mind this offseason. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times spoke to an MLB executive who told him Seattle has now shifted its focus to acquiring Tampa Bay lefty David Price via trade.

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports also commented on the possibility of Price going to Seattle, via Twitter:

Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times cited sources who said the Mariners would have to include a top pitching prospect in the deal:

Taijuan Walker is a 21-year-old righty with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s, per Rick Randall of Scout.com. In 25 starts between Double-A and Triple-A this year, Walker went 9-10 with a 2.93 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 10.2 K/9 ratio before making his MLB debut in September.

Walker would step right in Tampa Bay’s rotation in 2014 and be a nice return for Price, who already has a Cy Young Award under his belt. The Rays are in no position to sign Price once he becomes a free agent following the 2015 season. They also fared well in last year’s trade of James Shields, receiving 2013 AL Rookie of the Year Wil Myers in return, and should receive an even bigger haul with Price.

Adding Price to a rotation that already features Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, who finished third in the AL Cy Young voting this past season, would give Seattle one of baseball’s best starting trios.

Ben Badler of Baseball America took it a step further, speculating the team can sign Japanese star righty Masahiro Tanaka to a free-agent deal later this winter:

It’s all just a dream right now, but the Mariners have a new $2 billion TV deal that gives them the wherewithal to make it a reality.


RHP Jonathan Papelbon

The Philadelphia Phillies owe a lot of money to a lot of aging stars, but now it sounds like they are trying to shed some salary.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Philadelphia is actively shopping veteran closer Jonathan Papelbon:

But Rosenthal also mentions Papelbon’s big salary figures for the next few seasons, which may put him out of many teams’ price range unless the Phillies include cash in the deal:

The first team that comes to mind as a fit is the New York Yankees, who now have a bunch of cash to spend after Cano left the Bronx for his big contract with Seattle. The Yankees have since added Carlos Beltran and have a void at closer following the retirement of Mariano Rivera.

Papelbon, 33, has a combined 67 saves with 2.67 ERA and 1.09 WHIP the past two seasons in Philadelphia. It’s unknown if the Yankees are one of the 12 teams on his no-trade clause list, but he’s an option take over the ninth-inning duties if the team isn’t ready to hand the reins over to David Robertson.


LHP Brett Anderson

Ever since the A’s signed Scott Kazmir to a two-year, $22 million deal earlier this week, Anderson has been a hot name on the trading block since Oakland has a surplus of starting pitching. Besides Kazmir, the team’s other top options like Jarrod Parker, Sonny Gray, Dan Straily, A.J. Griffin and Tommy Milone are much cheaper.

Anderson’s an active Twitter user, so he’s seen his name linked to various teams via reports. Jane Lee of MLB.com recently spoke to Anderson, who maintained his sense of humor about the swirling trade rumors:

Anderson has a point. He has been linked with teams like the Yankees, Blue Jays, Royals and Rangers, as Buster Olney of ESPN reported Oakland has been having trade discussions with multiple teams:

Anderson is a talented 25-year-old lefty who has been riddled with injuries, making just 24 starts the past three years. For his career, he’s 26-29 with a 3.81 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 7.1 K/9 ratio, and would be an intriguing option for any team that wants a middle-of-the rotation contributor.

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Brett Anderson Should Be Bought Out by the Oakland A’s

The Oakland A’s won’t have to worry about losing a large quantity of players this offseason in free agency as they only have two players who can test the open market.  Those players are the A’s two All-Stars in Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour.

Most of the players who were instrumental in bringing a second straight A.L. West title to Oakland are under team control.  Then there are the several players with contract options such as Coco Crisp, Kurt Suzuki, Chris Young and Brett Anderson.

Anderson can be bought out for $1.5 million or can have his option exercised and be on the 2014 roster for $8 million.  

When you combine a low-payroll team like the Oakland A’s and an injury-prone player who has appeared in 22 games between the last two seasons, the outcome is not good.  Oakland will be paying him $8 million when he has not played more than 20 games in a season since 2009.

When you do the math, the A’s would save $6.5 million to buy out Anderson and let him walk.  For the small-market A’s, that amount of money could be put to a much better purpose.

Oakland will need to compete financially with the open market to re-sign Balfour and Colon. If the A’s could offer that $6.5 million to Balfour instead of Anderson, they will have a much better shot at keeping their All-Star closer.

There was a time when Anderson looked like the future ace of the A’s rotation, but the times have changed in Oakland.  The A’s have Sonny Gray, Dan Straily, Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone and more prospects who are far cheaper than Anderson and can play all—or at least most—of the season.  I didn’t include Colon on that list because of his free-agent status.

I’m not against Anderson staying in Oakland.  If the A’s were to buy him out and then re-sign him with a cheaper, incentives-based contract, they would save some money and keep a pitcher with potential.  The A’s could continue to use him as a relief pitcher to see if that helps his durability issues.  

I am against paying him $8 million when he has not proven himself capable of playing a full season.  That’s $500,000 more for Anderson than Coco Crisp’s club-option is worth.  There is no way that Anderson means more to Oakland than Crisp.  The A’s can’t afford the mistake of exercising Anderson’s club-option for 2014. 

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Oakland A’s: Has Bartolo Colon Thrown His Last Pitch for the Club?

One of the biggest questions facing the Oakland A’s front office in the offseason is what to do about Bartolo Colon

As the veteran explained to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the right-hander doesn’t plan to stop pitching anytime soon:

Three more years? 

That’s a bit bold considering he will be 41 years old in May. It’s hard to see any team giving Colon a three-year deal, but a two-year contract isn’t off the table. Plenty of teams are desperate for starters. Colon is certainly getting up there in age, but it’s impossible to ignore the results.

In 2013, Colon was one of the best pitchers in the AL. The righty ripped off 18 wins and posted a 2.65 ERA, while earning an All-Star berth along the way.

As GM Billy Beane put it to John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group:

Ultimately, the deal will come down to dollars.

How much money will the team have to pay to keep Colon around? There are no obvious comparisons from last year’s class of free agents because there simply aren’t that many starters still pitching at his age. There are even fewer who are posting numbers similar to those of Colon. 

The best comparison came nearly 10 years ago.

In 2003, Jamie Moyer won 21 games as a 40-year-old for the Seattle Mariners and then earned $7 million in 2004. That was almost a decade ago, but it provides a framework for a potential deal for the A’s ace. 

The front office will also have to evaluate just how vital Colon will be to the starting staff in 2014. Here are the six starters that the team has under club control for next season:

  • Sonny Gray
  • Jarrod Parker
  • A.J. Griffin
  • Dan Straily
  • Brett Anderson
  • Tommy Milone

In the case of Anderson, the team still needs to pick up the $8 million option on the lefty. According to Slusser, the team is leaning that way:

Anderson’s durability is a huge question mark, but that’s still a solid group of starters. However, depth is crucial. In the wake of the team’s ALDS exit, Jane Lee of MLB.com reported that both Sonny Gray (thumb) and Jarrod Parker (elbow) had to undergo MRIs

It’s still too early to know how serious those injuries will be, but they serve to remind just how quickly health problems can deplete a team’s depth. 

There’s also the PED angle to consider. 

MLB hit Colon with a 50-game ban back in August 2012 for PED usage. Ever since then, there have been questions every time the veteran rears back and fires off a 96 mph heater.

It’s worth noting, though, that it wasn’t power than made Colon so dominant in 2013. It was his remarkable control. According to FanGraphs, the righty finished the season with a 1.37 BB/9. That was second only to David Price in the AL. 

Nobody will expect him to win 18 games again in 2014. If he can maintain his pinpoint control, though, there’s no reason why Colon can’t be a highly effective starter for Oakland next season. 

Beane and manager Bob Melvin both told Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area that the team would love to keep Colon.

In particular, if the team can secure a deal on similar terms to the $3 million that Colon earned in 2013. That would be ideal, but there figures to be far more interest in the 18-game winner this offseason.

A more realistic target would be around $5 million with incentives that would allow Colon to earn as much as $8 million. If the A’s wants to be really aggressive, the club can even offer him an option for 2015 based on Colon making a certain number of starts next year.

Admittedly, that’s a lot of money for a pitcher at Colon’s age.

Then again, $5-8 million just doesn’t go that far on the market for free-agent starters. Look no further than Anderson. With all the inexpensive, young starters the team has under control, it’s a gamble that the club can afford to make.

In the end, though, the decision could be out of Beane’s control. If another team offers the starter  multiple years, then Colon’s time in Oakland is up. 





All salary figures courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

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Oakland A’s Pitcher Brett Anderson out at Least a Month with a Fractured Foot

The Oakland A’s received some bad news Friday about the ace of their pitching staff, Brett Anderson. He was already on the disabled list with a sprained ankle, but was determined to have a fractured foot and will be out for at least another month.

Oakland announced that the 25-year-old left-handed Anderson has a navicular stress fracture in his right foot via their official Twitter account:

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser confirmed the story, while indicating Anderson will be re-evaluated in four weeks. In an update to her story, she reported that he is expecting to pitch again this year, but if it is determined he needs surgery, it would likely end his season.

Now in his fifth major league season, Anderson has been consistently plagued by injuries since a successful rookie campaign in 2009 that saw him go 11-11 with a 4.06 ERA in 30 starts. He has appeared in just a combined 44 games (43 starts) in the four years since, and been on the disabled list a number of times, including undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2011.

Anderson is 1-4 with a 6.21 ERA this year in six games. He has been on the disabled list with a sprained ankle since May 1, and was nearing a return when he found out about his most recent injury.

According to an Associated Press Report on ESPN.com, the southpaw was bitterly disappointed about his most recent setback:

It’s pretty frustrating, disappointing and all the other similar adjectives. I was two days away from making another rehab start and now I’m in a walking boot with a fracture in my foot…

I’d pitched in San Antonio and felt good after that. I was running Monday in the outfield and all of a sudden my foot started hurting. I got it checked out and this is the result. I’m still processing it. I should take up a hobby, maybe play darts or something.

Slusser reported Anderson is in a walking boot and on crutches. She believes that even in the best case scenario, between healing and necessary rehab, he would miss at least two months with his fracture.

Young right-hander Dan Straily replaced Anderson in the Oakland rotation, but his poor performance so far suggests the team could look at other options. He is 1-2 with a 7.27 ERA in five starts, while walking 4.2 batters per nine innings.

In a separate article, Slusser suggests the A’s could look at minor leaguers Sonny Gray or Andrew Werner to step in for Straily if needed.

The right-handed Gray was the team’s first-round draft choice in 2011. He has dominated at Triple-A so far this season, going 4-2 with a 2.47 ERA in seven starts.

Werner, a left-hander, pitched briefly in the majors with the San Diego Padres last year before being traded to Oakland during the offseason. He is just 4-5 with a 6.92 ERA at Triple-A this season, but had a 3.57 career minor league ERA the previous four years combined.

Anderson told Slusser that while he is frustrated, he can’t dwell on his string of injuries or his current situation:

I can’t feel sorry for myself. That would be a waste of time. I’m still young, I’m 25. You never want to be labeled injury prone, but hopefully, I’ll get out there and make consecutive starts. I have the highest expectations for myself and I think I’m one of the better pitchers in the game when I’m healthy.

In baseball, players’ reputations are made from production. If Anderson can come back and pitch to his fullest potential, his snake-bitten past will recede from memory, which would surely be welcomed by both Oakland and the hobbled pitcher.


Statistics via Baseball-Reference 

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Oakland A’s: History Dictates That It Is Far Too Early to Panic over 2013 Start

After their first 40 games, the Oakland A’s are 20-20 in the 2013 season.

Remember 2012? The A’s started 20-20 as well. In 2006, The A’s—led by Frank Thomas—rode a five-game winning streak to get to 21-19 after 40 games. 

Historically, the A’s have tended to be a slow-starting team. Under manager Bob Geren, the club never started better than 23-17 through 40 games (2008) and started as slowly as 15-25 (2009) while opening 20-20 three times. 

Go back to the Moneyball era when the A’s opened 21-19 (2000), 18-22 (2001) and 19-21 (2002) after 40 games. Oakland went on to win 91, 102, and 103 games those three seasons, respectively.

In many ways, the 12-4 start that the Athletics have raced out to this season was a bit of fool’s gold. Eleven of those 12 wins came at the expense of AL West foes Seattle, Los Angeles (Angels) and Houston. Those teams sit a combined 31 games under .500 heading into Tuesday, May 14.

Once the torrid starts by guys like Jed Lowrie and Seth Smith died down, so did the early offense. Add to those laws of averages the injuries to Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick, Brett Anderson and Jarrod Parker as reality dragged the A’s back down to earth.

The only thing is that this is still a very talented team. WIth a quarter of the season gone, the projected Oakland lineup has played less than 15 total games together. Even if the A’s don’t duplicate their wins from 2012, there is no way that Anderson and Parker continue to post ERA’s of 6.21 and 6.86,  respectively. 

It is still a marathon in the game of baseball and right now, the A’s have run roughly 6.5 of the 26.2-mile 2013 race. They’re just getting warmed up.

Relax and hope that players like Daric Barton can hold the fort down when called upon until all of the gang gets back. When they do, the A’s will take off like they traditionally do when the talent takes the field in Oakland. 

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Front-Line Starting Pitchers to Reconsider Drafting for Your Fantasy Team

In this day and age where most pitchers can’t go a few years, much less one, without having some sort of elbow or shoulder trouble pop up, it’s very difficult to decide which ones are more at risk than others. 

While reading Will Carroll’s “Under the Knife” column can certainly help you determine the injury risk for many players, another factor in play is the inconsistency that can occur from year to year with many pitchers.

Who could’ve guessed that Tim Lincecum or Ricky Romero would be two of the biggest fantasy baseball busts in 2012? Both pitchers, especially Lincecum, had a track record of success and consistency.

Lincecum was in his age-28 season while Romero was only 27. Both have continued to struggle this spring, and Romero was just optioned to the minors Tuesday.

So which top-of-the-rotation pitchers should you stay away from in 2013? Who’s the next Lincecum or Romero? Here are four whom I believe should be drafted at your own risk.


Brett Anderson, Oakland Athletics

The typical recovery period after Tommy John surgery is 12-18 months. Once a pitcher returns, it’s common for his command to come and go, and many pitchers say it usually takes two full years before they feel like they’re back to full strength. 

In the case of Anderson, he returned to the majors approximately 13 months after undergoing the procedure. Only one of seven late-season starts would be considered bad, and he finished the year by tossing six shutout innings in a playoff win over the Tigers. 

So is Anderson the rare pitcher to make a quick recovery with no struggles upon his return? Maybe. But I don’t think he’s out of the woods just yet. The inconsistency might still come. He hasn’t been particularly sharp this spring. He allowed just two earned runs in 5.1 innings Tuesday but with just one strikeout. Veteran scout Bernie Pleskoff had this assessment of both starters in the game:

The 25-year-old also has the injury-prone tag and was already sidelined with a minor neck injury this spring. He’ll start on Opening Day for the A’s. Whether he can be consistently good or healthy for 30-plus starts is a major concern, though.


A.J. Burnett, Pittsburgh Pirates

Burnett’s exit from New York after back-to-back mediocre seasons in 2010 and 2011 resulted in a 16-win season for the Bucs and a 3.51 ERA, his lowest since 2005. Is it safe to assume that he’ll continue pitching well and maybe he is just more comfortable away from the bright lights of New York and the AL East?

We can’t forget that his Yankees debut in 2009 was actually pretty good (13-9, 4.04 ERA, 207 IP, 8.5 K/9), so whatever the issue was the following two seasons wasn’t a problem in year one with the team.

Don’t be surprised if the bad A.J. Burnett reappears in 2013, which would be terrible news for the Pirates as they try to avoid their 21st losing season in a row. I don’t really have anything statistically to base this on. Aside from his disastrous start on May 2 when he allowed 12 earned runs in 2.1 innings, he was consistently good the entire season.

But the Yankees weren’t exactly trying to dump him last offseason while willing to eat a lot of remaining salary because he was a reliable starter. They wanted him out of town for a reason.


Wade Miley, Arizona Diamondbacks

All the talk surrounding the Diamondbacks last offseason focused on top pitching prospects Trevor Bauer, Pat Corbin and Tyler Skaggs. And what about Miley? He was supposed to keep a rotation spot warm until those guys begin to arrive.

Well, none of the three stepped up to claim a spot, and it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Miley was an NL All-Star who ended up winning 16 games with a 3.33 ERA in 194.2 innings.

So why the concern in year two? After pitching more innings than he has in his career, there’s always a chance that the 26-year-old doesn’t come back as strong. He’s a candidate for the disabled list to start the season because he’s going through a “dead arm” phase, which has resulted in poor performances in two of his three spring outings.

And maybe all those scouts weren’t completely wrong and he starts pitching more like the No. 5 starter they have projected him to be. 


Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

I wouldn’t steer completely away from Sale, who was sixth in the AL Cy Young voting in 2012 after winning 17 games and posting a 3.05 ERA in his first year as a starter. I’d just wait a few extra rounds to compensate for the injury risk that I consider him to be. Chances are that he doesn‘t drop that far to you, but there’s also a good chance you won’t regret it.

As much of a side note as it ended up being, the White Sox were legitimately concerned about Sale’s sore elbow that they officially moved him to the bullpen last May. After one appearance, he talked his way back into the rotation and ended up being right. He was fine the rest of the way.

The White Sox aren’t overly concerned either, considering they gave him a $32.5 million contract extension that could keep him in Chicago until at least 2017.

Now the 23-year-old lefty is back a year after nearly tripling his innings total from 2011. Just because his elbow held up through the massive innings increase of last season doesn’t mean he’s out of the danger zone that some experts would consider such a jump in workload.

There’s a reason teams put innings caps on young pitchers. The Sox did not put one on Sale, and it’ll be on them if he blows out his elbow in 2013.

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