The Brewers agree to a deal for a free agent third baseman/cornerback Brian AndersonReporting by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link). The transaction is pending physical. Anderson is a CAA Sports customer.
Anderson, 30 on May, has spent his entire career as a member of the Marlins. The University of Arkansas product was selected in the third round of the 2014 draft, and made it to the majors after just over three years. He debuted at the end of the 2017 season and established himself as Miami’s daily third baseman the following year.
It marked the first of four consecutive years that Miami had him in the hot corner on Opening Day. In his first three seasons, the right-handed hitter was a productive player on both sides of the ball. He has achieved above average every year between 2018-20, showing almost average discipline and communication skills with high quality hard contact numbers. Cavern Miami hasn’t offered many advantages from a home run perspective, but it topped 30 doubles in both 2018-19.
Overall, Anderson hit .266/.350/.436 in over 1,400 appearances over his first three full seasons. He paired this type of offense with average to just above equal marks in the hot corner of the general defensive metrics. Even though he wasn’t a superstar, Anderson seemed like the part of a regular who could make it into Miami’s lineup at least throughout his offseason.
The past two years have been disappointing, thanks in large part to injuries. Anderson missed significant periods of the 2021 campaign with a pair of partial dislocations in his left shoulder. In 67 games when he was healthy enough to play, he only managed a streak of .249/.337/.378. He had another pair of injuries last season — first for lower back spasms in June, then a six-week absence in late summer for another left shoulder problem. Anderson appeared in 98 games but put up a worst 222/.311/.346 streak with 383 trips to the plate.
Over the past two years, he has averaged under .233/.321/.359 through 647 plate appearances. The hits went up slightly but the biggest concern is that he doesn’t take damage on contact. Anderson’s strong calling percentage is down slightly from its 2018-19 peak. He totaled 25 doubles over the past two seasons after excelling at hitting gaps in his first few years against MLB pitches. In the wake of this diminished production, Miami did not tender him a start this winter instead of bringing him back with an expected refing salary of about $5.2 million.
Once in free agency, Anderson became an interesting low-price target for other clubs. It certainly looks as though his production has been negatively affected by the shoulder concerns that have sent him to IL several times over the past few years. The Brewers are hoping a rest and a change of scenery will allow him to put his recent struggles behind him and restore some of his early career promise.
In addition to his roughly mediocre defense at third base, Anderson has extensive experience with cornerbacks. He’s played over 1,500 MLB innings as a player, with nearly all of that work coming in right field. General measures were divided on his work on the lawn. Saved on defensive runs he hit eight better-than-average runs in the outfield over the course of his career. On the other hand, Statcast tied it with seven runs short of par.
Brewers are supposed to take a more favorable view of Anderson’s outdoor glove business. Luis Urreas Fairly well established as a Milwaukee third baseman. Anderson offers some extra coverage in the hot corner but has the clearest path to playing time in right field. Christian Yelich Will man left field, while the Brewers seemed ready to roll to center and right field to Garrett Mitchell And Tyrone Taylor, respectively. Mitchell played well late in his rookie season but only has 28 MLB games under his belt. Taylor called 17 home runs while playing in addition to defense last year, earning a semi-regular role. However, he also hit . 233 with a 0.286-less on a percentage basis, which raised some questions about his ability to handle the offensive demands of a proper fielding job every day.
Anderson won’t necessarily bump into Taylor from the starting line-up, but he does add another option to the mix for manager Craig Counsell. His right-handed batter also provides some extra balance to a left-swinging first base/tandem intended for hitter Jesse Winker And Naughty Tellezthough Anderson himself has been better off so far without the platoon advantage in his career.
The financial terms of the deal remain unmentioned. If the contract is for one year — as seems likely — Anderson will return to free agency next winter after crossing the six-year service threshold through the 2023 campaign. Once that’s done, Anderson will become Milwaukee’s third major league signing off the season. Wade Miley He signed a one-year, $4.5 million guarantee, while an outfielder Blake Perkins He earns a pre-arbitration salary and has never played in the majors. Before Anderson’s money is factored in, Milwaukee plans 2023 payroll of about $117 million, according to a calculation list resource. The club opened last season in the $132 million range, so there’s still room for more low-cost additions for general manager Matt Arnold and his front office.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.