Ailing Anderson Should Prompt Dodgers Youth Mound Movement

Brett Anderson

It may be nothing more than early spring aches and pains, but the Dodgers starting rotation is starting to thin out already before a single pitch has been thrown. The club reported that left hander Brett Anderson felt a tweak in his lower back after a bullpen session on Wednesday afternoon at Camelback Ranch. Knowing Anderson’s injury history he’ll be in an old folk’s home by next Tuesday.

The Dodgers halted his session and are now reporting that he could be doubtful for his first scheduled exhibition start on Sunday. Shocking news right guys? Brett Anderson hurt?….Why I’ve never heard of such a preposterous thing.

Hopefully it’s just soreness and Anderson will be back on the mound as soon as possible. However Anderson does have a history of back problems, including surgery in 2014. The Dodgers are obviously concerned and ordered him to get some tests done. We should know the results within the next day or two. Until then I would assume that Anderson will be held out of action.

This is definitively cause for concern, but not a reason to panic. The Dodgers were counting on Brett Anderson to be their fourth starter this season, but they have a lot of internal options should Anderson not be able to go. There is still a month to go before the regular season starts.

Still it makes me wonder why the front office is even bothering with these guys. Hyun-jin Ryu’s shoulder is so tenuous it’s probably being held together by duct tape and rubber bands. It would be a miracle if the Dodgers were to get even half a season out of him.

I think the front office has done a much better job this winter with the additions of Kenta Maeda and Scott Kazmir, however last winter’s signings were possibly the worst I have ever seen. The brain trust’s idea of how to build a pitching staff is centered around egotism and advanced formulas. You can’t build a pitching staff on math equations.

I’m no math geek or genius so I’ll just give it to you straight. I’m coming at this from a perspective of common sense. To me, innings and health mean a lot when building a pitching staff. It’s always best to choose from proven commodities that have good health histories. Gambling on guys who are always hurt and have established careers of mediocrity is just asking for failure. They’re giving Brett Anderson 15.8 million dollars this year. Can you imagine if Ned Colletti made these types of moves? He would be ridiculed.

Of course the moneyball kids never want to admit when their poster boy Andrew Friedman makes a mistake. There’s always an excuse. “How could he have known”? Look, it doesn’t take Nostradamus to figure out that Anderson and McCarthy were going to get hurt. Nobody has a crystal ball, but the lack of common sense is stunning to me.

Fortunately Friedman and company have done a great job of building the farm system and that incredible depth we hear about on a daily basis. So when Anderson gets hurt (big surprise) and McCarthy shuffles off to buffalo with his 48 million dollars we have plenty of guys to fill the role. I’m surprised Anderson stayed on the mound for 180 innings last year.

So I say it’s time for the Dodgers to pitch the kids. Alex Wood is just 24 years old and I think with some help from pitching coach Rick Honeycutt could have a pretty good year. I wasn’t impressed by him last season, but he’s got potential provided they fix his funky arm angles and delivery. He can slot in right behind Kazmir in the fourth slot. The five spot can be up for grabs between several youngsters like Julio Urias, Jose De Leon, Jharel Cotton, and even Mike Bolsinger. This is how the rotation should probably look like after the injuries.

  1. Clayton Kershaw
  2. Kenta Maeda
  3. Scott Kazmir
  4. Alex Wood
  5. Julio Urias

 

If you remember I correctly predicted that Brandon McCarthy would be hurt and useless last spring and I was berated by the moneyball kids online. Everyone told me how little I knew about baseball. It just takes some common sense and experience to figure it out.

There’s no reason for the Dodgers to continue to jerk around with these guys. Whether the old men take the mound or not, the future is very bright for the Dodgers. There is a lot of time left, but if these guys can’t stay on the mound then it’s time to let the Dodger’s rich and talented farm system take over.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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21 thoughts on “Ailing Anderson Should Prompt Dodgers Youth Mound Movement

  1. For someone even as optimistic I am, this is very troubling. I cannot deny that I believed that Brett Anderson was poised to have a good year. He still may, but backs that flare up on those who have had back surgery cannot be seen as simply precautionary. Pitchers, position players, medical staff, FO, all understand the difference between simple aches/pain and injury. Anderson being ordered to get tests tells me that this is something more than just working the kinks out.

    Alex Wood was already being penciled in as the replacement pitcher for Ryu. While most know that I am a fan of Alex (nauseatingly so for some), I recognize the risk, and the natural skepticism that follows. But if Anderson is down for any length of time, this definitely puts Urias, De Leon, Lee, Cotton, Stripling, Beachy, and Bolsinger fighting for the #5. ST just got a lot more important for those guys. While I pushed for a more legit #2, and thought that Jake Odorizzi was a viable trade option, I think the kids get the shot in ST. Andrew built the farm system, and I think it is a year too early, but the kids need the baptism under fire to see if they have mental makeup to be ML pitchers.

    I hope the “tweak” in the back is a minor annoyance, but if not, 2017 just arrived a year earlier.

  2. I’m thinking Deleon before Urias becuz of a little more senority… Maybe it will time to have #5 a pitcher by comm. and audition the folks for trade values. It’s a reality that in the next few weeks there are going to a lot of players who are headed for the DL and I hope the Blue is one of the teams that the FO will be busy sorting out trade possibilities..

    1. I would not suspect that either Urias or De Leon will be the 1st considered. I always list them first because they do represent the future, and they are the first to come to mind. But I am guessing that Bolsinger/Beachy/Lee will be the ones that will get the first shot. As a fan of the often over-looked and/or passed up prospect, I would like to see Zach Lee get real consideration. I hope he gets the chance to fail, but doesn’t. If Beachy shows anything in ST comparable to his ATL years, he would have to be considered. I think Bolsinger was an unsung and unexpected hero last year, but I think he hit beyond his projected ceiling, and will not be as effective as he was in 2015.

      I do not believe that FAZ thought that Anderson would accept the QO (since nobody had done so in the past), and they wanted that draft pick. They gambled. I do not know yet if they lost, but a full 32 starts doesn’t seem so likely. Somebody unexpected always comes out of ST. Hopefully it will be one of the pitchers.

  3. No way Urias is ready to be a full time starter in the majors. The most innings he has ever thrown in a season is 87. The best we can hope for this year is a September call-up or to have him working out of the bullpen down the stretch. And that even may be unlikely.

    1. I agree….if Beachy is healthy, and pitching well, I throw him in there before I do the kids. Was a solid pitcher before his TJ surgery. And no one mentioned Frias. He is also a better option than the kids…

  4. Cmon Scott, none of us moneyball kids said FAZ never make mistakes. I say if management get 60-70% right, with no major screwups, that is pretty darn good. I say FAZ haters never want to admit FAZ successes.

    FAZ has been on job maybe 18 months. We have been over it before, but, FAZ retooled roster before 2015 and lost 2 starting pitchers and still won 92 games. Management’s job is to build a roster to get to playoffs. SUCCESS!! Playoffs are a crapshoot.

    Scott: “Look, it doesn’t take Nostradamus to figure out that Anderson and McCarthy were going to get hurt. Nobody has a crystal ball, but the lack of common sense is stunning to me”. Well duh!! That is why FAZ has worked hard to get pitching depth. Ryu, McCarthy and now Anderson maybe out, still lots of options. What other team can say that? Don’t forget Beachy on the FAZ walking injured list. It could be his year.

    To say it again, many of us just see the big picture. After years of bad Dodger management, finally, we get “State of the Art” management. Management that will put together rosters that will allow Dodgers to compete every year. And contrary to that poster who is currently vacationing in Salt River, the Dodgers did have a REAL chance at a championship LAST YEAR.

    1. Boxout,

      I guess you don’t go on twitter much then. Last year When I correctly estimated that the Mccarthy and anderson signings were a bad idea I was ridiculed and bullied. Of course I was right and still most of those people won’t admit that. I like what the front office is doing in general but signing Mccarthy and anderson were huge mistakes. Those guys just aren’t very good and can’t stay healthy. They passed up better healthier more proven talent to sign those guys. I don’t know why. Ego perhaps? Add up the 48 million to mccarthy and the 15.8 million to anderson and that’s a lot of money for two below average pitchers who constantly get hurt. Health, innings and common sense any day over egomania and math equations.

      1. Scott, you are right, I have never gone on twitter.

        So far its looking like you were right about McCarthy. Hasn’t done anything yet, but, at $12M/year there is still time. Today’s news regarding Anderson is bad, I was looking forward to seeing what he would do this year. BUMMER!! That is why management should constantly be looking to acquire “pitching depth”. I know you know, you can never have “too much pitching”.

        Who were you arguing for FAZ to sign last year?

  5. You guys crack me up.
    .
    Glendale next week. Salt River later. I’m retired. I goes where I wants when I wants. I’m checking in here now and then just to get a laugh.

  6. Your forget to mention that the 15 million is a QA. The Dodgers were essentially saying, “you pitched ok, but we don’t really trust you enough to sign you to a multi-year deal. You can take the QA or move on.” You can’t really criticize the FO for him taking it. The QA was offered instead of a multi-year precisely because of his injury history.

    In my observation of MLB economics, pitching durability is a very overvalued asset. Take Smardja, for example. He was a big FA signing. What did he get? 90 million? If you look at the pitcher he actually is, he is very ordinary, mediocre even. He actually sucked last year. Why would a team give a pitcher who sucks that much money? Durability. He can pitch 180 innings a year. But if you think about it, the Giants are signing on to a ton of risk. They’re paying a lot of money for the big risk – likelihood even – that he’s going to continue to be mediocre.

    What would you rather have? a mediocrity risk or an injury risk of someone with more upside? As for McCarthy, for the potential upside he flashed – the increase in velocity and effectiveness – the Dodgers payed 48 million, way below market value if he didn’t have an injury history.

    So stop with the complaining about the injury risks. We all know Anderson has an injury history, but the team is also not stuck with a big, long-term contract, and they have other options, which gets back to the depth discussion. This is why you have depth.

    Look people. This is sports. There are no guarantees. All of these little actuarial and valuation inputs swirl around in Friedman’s brain before he makes these signings. That’s what he’s done. He’s a Wall Street portfolio manager. Players are stocks. You’re trying to maximize the return on investment. It’s a rational, analytical approach to getting the most performance out on the field by making sound personnel decisions; and assuming risk.

  7. Thank you, Scott. I too was underwhelmed by Anderson and McCarthy last year but people said don’t worry, in July we’ll have Hamels or Cueto. Ryu’s shoulder is a bigger concern because I wasn’t expecting much from the other two. Maybe it’s time to give Zack Lee a chance. I don’t think Urias is ready to pitch in the majors right now, and that’s not really his fault. The Dodgers have handled him with kid gloves.

    As for our “state of the art” management, well, the jury is still out. There’s no way of telling what another GM’s retooled roster would have done in the National League Worst. Those 92 wins were mostly provided by players who were already here.

  8. Anderson out 3-5 months with back surgery for a bulging disc….someone was right and I was wrong……opens the door for Frias, Bolsinger, Lee, Beachy, Urias, Deleon, and Sierra. Not earth shattering, but not good news either. That 15.8 does not look too good right now…

    1. Not Frias!!! He’s a 2 pitch pitcher and and his starting last year did not impress me at all. We are better off with him in relief. Bolsinger, Beachy and if things get desperate then Lee

      1. Bolsinger was not that great. He was very pedestrian and was not much more than a 6 inning guy. He put an awful lot of pressure on the bullpen. Lee should get his shot. It is most likely his last chance to make the roster. It will be Kersh, Kazmir, Wood, Maeda, and then take your pick..

  9. It is foolhardy to sign someone that you know is likely to be hurt. All of the statheads will tell you that absent a small sample size, past performance is the best indicator of future performance. Anyone looking at Anderson’s and McCarthy’s injury history would know that they were not likely to stay healthy.

    I agreed with 1 yr/ $10 mil for Anderson last year was a reasonable gamble and you’re right of course that he accepted a qualifying offer this year so it was only one year – again, a reasonable gamble but also not much to bank on. McCarthy 4 yrs/$48 mil was what Mark used to call a “dope fiend move” – there was no way that he was likely to pitch well for half of the term of the contract based on past performance. They did what none of the Saberguys are supposed to do – paid McCarthy based on 1/2 season of performance in NY (actually less)

    I still say that signing injured or injury-prone pitchers isn’t depth – if they can’t pitch it doesn’t do you any good to have them on the roster.

    Maeda looks good in camp so far, but his MRI looked so bad that they got him for 8/$25. Good risk? Don’t know. They have been spending millions on Cubans – so far not much of a return on investment. Will it work? Don’t know.

    What they haven’t been doing is spending on more sure things with less risk than injured guys or Cubans with no Major League experience – that’s why Price is with Boston, Zimmerman with Detroit, Cueto with SF, Greinke with Arizona, etc.

    Pitching durability is overvalued? Really? Don’t you have to have someone who can take the ball every 5 days? I agree that “innings eaters” are overvalued – you want someone good every 5 days – but wasn’t Anderson essentially an innings eater last year? Wasn’t he part of the much-vaunted depth that all of the Friedman fanboys touted until yesterday?

    So now Beachy is the next frail reed to be relied upon? Not 1 Tommy John surgery but 2? What is the success rate of 2 TJ surgeries? It is about 50% for the first one – it will be lower than that for the second one.

    I second Scott’s statement – the team should pay more for more reliable players – quality, not quantity of talent.

    As I predicted yesterday, this year’s rotation is Kershaw, Maeda, Kazmir, Wood and ??? The ??? will be last year’s spare parts (Bolsinger, Frias, Beachy) or one of the kids. I think that it is time to see if any of the kids have what it takes. Prospects are just prospects until they actually become players. If they never become players then they are really nothing. Lee, Stripling, Deleon, Cotton should be given the chance to win the job. Let’s find out if we really have anything in the minors other than potential.

    1. Amen to that. Maddux was telling the young pitchers this week how important it was to get your innings in. Tough break for Anderson, but a lot of people thought the QO was a mistake.

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