I mentioned the Tyler Anderson signing in the Qualifying Offer post, since it was clearly completed in relation to that deadline, but I wanted to give it a standalone look because of the implications.
For one thing, this is the first major free agent signing of the offseason with a new team. We’ve had some big deals so far – Edwin Diaz, Robert Suarez, Rafael Montero, Anthony Rizzo – but this is the first one where a guy is actually signing with a new team. So we’re off to the races on that front.
As you can see from the list, it’s also the first starting pitcher signing of the offseason. So we’re off to the races on that front, too. Sometimes there’s enough of a bottleneck – a couple teams waiting on a certain guy, a couple guys waiting on those certain teams, a couple others waiting on the prices to be set, and so on and so on – that one signing can start shaking things loose.
Anderson, 33 next month, was outstanding for the Dodgers in 2022, the first really great season of his career. That’s why, even coming off a 2.57 ERA over 178.2 innings (and a 4.0 WAR), he didn’t get more than a reported three years and $39 million. Plus draft pick compensation, of course. Signing Anderson costs the Angels a second rounder, the associated pool space, and $500K in IFA bonus pool space. Your mileage may vary on whether a bet on Anderson being legit is worth all that.
Generally speaking, the contract projections on Anderson – if he didn’t accept the QO – were in the two to three-year range, with AAVs ranging from $15 million to as high as $17-ish million, so the Angels did well by that standard. Maybe that’s why they were willing to jump today, and maybe Anderson just wanted the biggest guarantee he could get in the Los Angeles area.
The Cubs were never rumored to be in on Anderson, and with draft pick compensation attached, I doubt they ever would be (for TOP free agents, I don’t think they’ll care that much, but for guys at the margins, I think it’s an issue). For their purposes, the story here is the $13 million AAV (does it suggest the market won’t be as hot for starting pitchers?), and the starting pitching market starting to move.