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Is it Time For The Dodgers To Cut Bait With Brett Anderson?

Brett Anderson

I don’t like writing these types of articles, but I hate to say I told you so….Dodgers. I called it during spring training. There was no way that starters Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy were going to contribute much or anything at all this season. The Anderson and McCarthy signings have been resounding failures. Both pitchers have become unathletic, injury riddled messes.

In McCarthy’s defense at least he was able to give the Dodgers a few decent starts before going back on the disabled list with a hip injury. As for Anderson, he is more useless than ever before. I think it’s time the Dodgers cut bait with both of these guys. Especially because there are younger healthier pitchers waiting in the minors.

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The Dodgers originally signed left hander Anderson and tall right hander McCarthy in December of 2014. Anderson has had a long and established history of injuries throughout his career. He tossed 175 innings in his first season with the Oakland A’s. The only other season in his entire career that he was able to pitch more than 175 innings was last year when he threw 180 for the Dodgers.

He simply can’t stay healthy. This off-season the Dodgers offered him a qualifying offer (15.8 million dollars) and he took it. The one-year contract looked reasonable at the time considering Anderson finished with a 10-9 record and a 3.69 ERA in 180 innings pitched. He wasn’t spectacular last year, but he was able to stay on the mound and gave the Dodgers some decent innings. Forget about his horrendous outing in game 3 of the NLDS against the Mets.

The unproductive injury plagued Anderson popped up again this season. Before exhibition games even began, Anderson threw out his back during a bullpen session. After an MRI the Dodgers found out that he had a herniated disc in his back and would require 3-5 months of recovery time after surgery. His career has been a cornucopia of injuries that have ranged from Tommy John surgery, fractured feet, another back injury and a fractured finger.

Anderson made several rehab starts at single-A Rancho before his season debut with the big club on Sunday afternoon against the Pirates. Unsurprisingly the debut was a disaster. The pudgy left hander allowed 5 earned runs in one inning of work before having to come out with another injury. He allowed two home runs to Sean Rodriguez and Jordy Mercer before falling off the mound to field a grounder and hurting his left wrist. Anderson threw 30 pitches in the loss.

Nobody expects Anderson to pitch with a stiff wrist. However all of the runs he allowed were before he injured his wrist. So what was the excuse? I don’t know. I know baseball is hard. It’s Anderson’s job to be prepared. He had 3 rehab starts to be ready for Sunday’s game. The wrist injury is not expected to be serious, but the Dodgers are not sure if he will be ready for his next start or when he will pitch again.

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Anderson is a nice guy. I hope he is able to come back healthy and be a productive member of the Dodger’s pitching staff. I want to see him succeed. However the Dodgers are in a playoff race and are in dire need of healthy starting pitchers down the stretch.

I have major doubts that Anderson can stay healthy this season. I know you can’t judge a season on one start but the Dodgers don’t have time to be messing around with another injured pitcher. I think it’s time for the Dodgers to cut bait at this point.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

34 thoughts on “Is it Time For The Dodgers To Cut Bait With Brett Anderson?

  1. Pitching is the Achilles heel of FAZ. With both of these pitchers struggling with both staying healthy and staying in the strike zone, and with looking at their histories, it doesn’t take a betting genius to say the odds are against using them down the stretch. Cutting bait usually means getting rid of them. I’m not sure the Dodgers are going down that road. It kind of makes FAZ look bad. Trading or bullpen seems more likely.

    Starters could be Kershaw, Kazmir, Maeda, ?, Urias. Who that 4th slot is taken by is anyone’s guess at this point. There is no clear favorite. This team needs to weed out the pitchers who have not contributed well to the club. It is a cruel business, but these players are compensated quite well and their egos will recover. Hopefully, FAZ’s ego will recover, too.

    Another question that comes to mind is what if Kazmir end up with a 10-9 W-L or similar stat to what Anderson achieved last year? Is that supposed to be good enough for a #2 pitcher? My sense is that the pitching staff may indeed need a major overhaul as it didn’t get it last year and they are struggling once again this year. Pitching is the achilles heel of FAZ.

    1. Don’t worry about FAZ’s ego, the Great State of California is not big enough to contain it, it protrudes well into International Waters…

  2. I don’t think they would DFA any of them.
    Maeda, Kazmir, Norris who pitches the wild card game???

    Of course we could still win the division. At the moment of this writing the Giants are down by 4 with 5 outs remaining….make that 4 outs remaining….now make that 3 outs remaining.

      1. Let him go now. Take your chances with Stripling. And sorry Scott, no way you can forget about the horrid game 3. Had the Dodgers won that game, they would have most likely won the series. It put them down 2-1……

        1. And because both Kershaw and Grienke did not win their games it’s as if ‘oh well’ we shouldn’t have needed our #3 to win anyway…..
          First of all you want that game 3 to at least be a 50/50 game and what in the hell do they expect in a 7 game series where normally the top 2 pitchers will pitch 4 of the 7 games leaving 3 games for others to pitch. I just think it is extremely near sighted to expect Kershaw and Grienke to win every single post season game. It’s not like they are going up against the Padres, Braves, Brewers, Reds, D-Backs, etc…. In the playoffs you are going up against a good team, usually one that has both a lineup and good starters.

          Of course that bum Grienke is no longer around so we don’t have to worry about him stinking up the joint……we’ve replaced him with 3 other pitchers! 🙂

  3. SF Lost!!!
    1/2 game back.

    It’s still Monday on the west coast so tomorrow might be moving day!!!!

    Then again the Dodgers could be entering a prolonged sub 500 record over an extended period of time. However given SF’s play right now, we might be able to weather such a streak and still stay close. I think this is a crucial road trip and might not be too pretty.

    But at least those Mother F’ers lost!!!

    1. I mostly agree with you Yueh_Fei. I would have gone with Stewart and Stripling in the rotation sooner.

      Its the cutting bait thing that we might not agree on. I would put Anderson and McCarthy on the DL and leave them there until they proved they are fully back to their “best? selves. If that means pitching in AZ in simulated games so beit.

      Scott–Great post. You nailed it. A good critique. If a team doesn’t get through the playoffs with two aces having plus years it was not because the #3 guy blew it.

      My rotation until Kershaw returns: Stripling, Stewart, Kazmir, Maeda, Urias/De Leon.

      1. Dodgers won a World Series in ’65 after Koufax and Drysdale lost games 1 and 2 because they had a third ace. With all the extra playoffs today you need at least three IMO. Anderson was signed to be the #5; after Ryu was hurt it was on the FO to find that third ace.

        1. And when the Dodgers swept the Yankees, it was Podres that pitched game 2 in NY after Koufax pitched his gem in game one. Drysdale followed with a shutout in game 3 and Koufax finished it up in game 4.

          BUT, two aces having plus years has probably been enough in the majority of playoff series and WS. There are always exceptions.

  4. Our management won’t cut bait with Anderson; they brought him here, and then gave him a QO assuming he’d decline it. They know they’ll look bad if they cut him after 1 inning. Better bet is to keep him rehabbing until September, and then maybe give him some mop up work here or there.

    He’ll get a nice 1 year, 7mil deal somewhere next season; thank god it won’t be for us!

    More importantly, we’re now tied with sf in the loss column. Granted we have 9 games left with them, 6 of them being LA. As B17 mentioned in a recent thread, assume those 9 games win up 5 wins to 4.

    Shaping up to be the gooiest, craziest ride to end the year!

      1. Bobby: “Our management won’t cut bait with Anderson; they brought him here, and then gave him a QO assuming he’d decline it. They know they’ll look bad if they cut him after 1 inning.”

        Well, they did cut bait with Latos and Johnson last year.

        Bobby: “Better bet is to keep him rehabbing until September, and then maybe give him some mop up work here or there.” I agree with this. Why would they just DFA him? Nothing to be gained from DFA. Although, very good chance he is not on playoff roster.

        1. I don’t think they will get rid of both of these pitchers, because they can get some money back, from there insurance on these two pitchers.

          They will probably give Anderson another chance to start again, because of the questionable status of the other pitchers, in the starting rotation.

          And if McCarthy doesn’t come back, what a waste of money.

          And that is on the front office, because you just don’t give a pitcher with the injury history that McCarthy has, a multi year contract.

          And when a team like the Yankees, didn’t want to give McCarthy to much, that tells you enough.

          Because McCarthy pitched pretty well for the Yankees for half of a season, and the Yankees don’t have any problem spending money.

          And when this new front office made McCarthy there first big purchase, after just coming to the Dodgers.

          The new front office got off to a bad start right away with the Dodger fan base.

          Because even the fan base, that doesn’t follow the Dodgers as well, as people do, on this site, knew that McCarthy was not a good signing.

  5. Drawing thoughts from the previous post–most corporations are trying to act like lean, mean small bussinesses. To the extent that FAZ is acting like a small business and less like a big corporation that merely buys small bussinesses because that can’t develop from within, I like what FAZ is doing.

    When UCLA and John Wooden were winning NCAA titles, I liked those UCLA players. I would ask myself, why would I root for the Lakers when they were loaded with players from other colleges. I would follow those UCLA players and root for their success even though they were not on the Lakers.

    I am that way with the Dodgers. I don’t want to have to watch other team’s veterans winding up their careers on the Dodgers who would have expensive long term contracts gofing into their down years.

    I like Utley and apriciate Kendricks because they are here for a short time and fill a need. I would probably like players that come to the Dodgers with Southern California roots. I would have been good with Hamels.

    1. I wonder what Hill is going to be like, once he is able to pitch?

      When Hill was able to pitch for the A’s, he wasn’t pitching in a pennant race, so he wasn’t pitching under the same pressure, he will be pitching with in LA.

      Some players play better under pressure, and some don’t.

      I am wondering if that is happening with Reddick.

      Reddick doesn’t look relaxed when he is playing.

      And that might explain his lack of any real offensive production, and his mis plays, of fly balls, in the outfield.

      And that is what the front office forget to think about last year, when they brought Johnson to this team.

      Johnson had a decent era for the Braves, but he was not pitching under pressure, when he was on the Braves.

      And the year before, Johnson, pitched terrible for two teams.

      Like I said above, I think this is happening with Reddick.

      I don’t understand why Reddick is being batted, at the top of the Dodgers order.

      He isn’t a big run producer, and he doesn’t belong in the meat of the Dodgers order.

      And when he is batting second, he is going to be getting more at bats, then Cory, Turner, and Agone.

      And he is not a better hitter, then these three players.

      Do we really want Reddick getting more at bats, then these players?

      I am afraid that if Roberts continues to stick with Reddick in this place in the order, it is going to mess with the Dodgers good offensive production, after a while.

      Reddick has came up to bat plenty of times now, with runners I scoring position, and he still hasn’t hit in a single run.

      And his missed flyball cost us a run, in our last game.

    2. Bum
      You are not being consistent, because almost all of those players on UCLA, came from different high schools, and not only from high schools from Southern California.

      I followed UCLA in college basket ball too. .

      I like college basketball better, then pro basket ball, because the players usually play better as a team, and they seem to play with more passion too.

      Both of my parents were from Indiana, and my mom went to the high school, with John Wooden’s little sister.

  6. Just caught up on last thread. Lots of good comments.

    dodgerrick: “There is nothing new here. Friedman pinched pennies and used stats to compete because he didn’t have the money to do it otherwise.” And he did a very good job doing it. I am pretty darn sure, that FAZ was given the task of “pinching pennies” for awhile to get payroll back in line. Dodgers were first in highest payroll and by a mile. Hopefully, after the 2018 season we will see what they do when shopping at the high priced market.

    dodgerrick: “And by the way, I have “won” way more than 50% of my cases at trial. You win by trying cases that you think you will win, and by out-preparing your opponent.” Maybe you have been fortunate to be dealing with the LaRussa/Stewart’s of the legal world. My lawyer buddy, tells me, only cases where both sides have good arguments go to trial, otherwise they settle.

    What is ‘Arbitrage: “Arbitrage is the simultaneous purchase and sale of an asset to profit from a difference in the price. It is a trade that profits by exploiting the price differences of identical or similar financial instruments on different markets or in different forms. Arbitrage exists as a result of market inefficiencies.” Interesting debate on last thread. I don’t have investment banker background. But, the above definition doesn’t sound that bad when trying to “profit” in the baseball world. Yueh_Fei, what am I missing? Liberatore, Grant Dayton, Chis Taylor, Andrew Toles, Rob Segedin, Chase De Jong and others make me think FAZ arbitraging isn’t so bad.

    1. Pitching is at least 80 percent of the game, do you really think that is the place, to cut your spending on a team?

    2. In practice, market inefficiencies open and close very quickly, because at the end of the day, because it’s a competitive world out there and people competing against you are just as smart as you are. So an arbitrager usually end up make lots of transactions that has very little benefit and very little loss, and they hope to build up the incremental benefit to a large benefit through the sheer number of transactions. Once in a while they may strike it big on a trade, but usually they never find out because they would have sold long before that big trade made big money (which often requires more time than the arbitrageur was willing to wait).

  7. Mr. Negative checking in. Do you honestly think that Kershaw will be any good when he comes back? My guess is that he is 1 or 2 and done for the year, with surgery coming. After the surgery, what are the chances that even he with a surgically repaired disc will be nearly as good as before. What pitcher has come back from back surgery? Can he pitch with a corset around his abdomen? Ice on his back in between innings? I know this microscopic stuff is good, but for an elite pitcher? Anderson had the back surgery, and look at his result before he fell the other day. I know he is not Kershaw, but the physiology is the same. I don’t see Kershaw anywhere near as good/great as he was. Figure a .500 pitcher. So….go with the young guys until we find some who can win and stay on the field. And start now.

    1. Bobbie 17
      Kershaw had a mild heriated disc problem.

      Look up what a mild heriated disc is.

      Like Rick has said, most people don’t have surgery, when they have a disc problem.

      And Kershaw is not only a better pitcher then Anderson, he has the attitude and drive that most pitchers don’t have.

      Anderson’s problem in that game, had nothing to do with his disc surgery.

      He apparently wasn’t ready to pitch at the big league level yet, and he is not a good athlete.

      The annoucer said that Anderson dived for the ball, but that is not really what Anderson did.

      He looked like a just fell down to the ground, he didn’t make an athletic dive for that ball.

  8. Out of here for a few days, room mate has been having some problems and it is up to Denver for some more treatments…have fun guys.

    1. Michael
      Sorry to hear that.
      The way that you have been there for your friend tells a lot about you.

      Keep your head up!

  9. You should read Houston Mitchell’s LA Times column today on this same subject. (It’s called “LA Dugout” and today’s is called “Sore Armed Crew”. Here’s an excerpt:

    “As longtime readers know, I have not been the biggest fan of Andrew Friedman. I keep hearing about how he has maintained a strong major-league roster while keeping the farm system intact, but most of the top players were there when he got here, so I’m not sure how much credit he gets for that. He holds on to prospects like a man stranded in the desert holds on to his canteen of water, and when he does trade some prospects, we get guys like Mat Latos, Jim Johnson, Josh Reddick and Rich Hill in return. (I’d like to point out that you have made as many appearances for the Dodgers as Hill, and the team didn’t have to give up a thing to acquire you.)”

    One interesting point that Mitchell makes is that he deals with the “depth” argument – does signing 5 injured or injury prone guys and hoping that 1 or 2 make it count as depth? Mitchell writes:

    “The Dodgers talk a lot about how their “depth” has paid off this season, but I’m not sure you get to brag about depth when you knew you were relying on a bunch of injury-prone pitchers. If depth is due to “let’s get a bunch of pitchers who get hurt a lot. When one goes down, the next man can fill in till he gets hurt,” you can’t really jump up and down and get excited about it. If I hire a construction crew to build a new house, and they build 10 houses because eight of them are going to collapse after I move in, I don’t think they get to brag about the depth of the houses either.”

    In response to Boxout’s hope that we will see what Friedman, et al will do after 2018 when they go shopping in the high-priced market, I suggest that you are assuming facts not in evidence. The point of the article that you linked to is that Friedman has never gone shopping in that market – neither has Zaidi. No one in the Dodgers’ front office has ever run a big market team; they have all been penny-pinchers. From what we have seen thus far, any extra money that the Dodgers have had to invest has been spent on untold hundreds of Cubans and constant roster churn of AAAA level players who seem to come and go like visitors to a residence hotel. (The latest of this group, Zach Walters who was just released after spending a few days on the major league roster, going 0 for 5 and spending most of the year in OKC.)

    In short, what makes you think that the Braintrust will ever pay to sign (or trade for) a big star who will cost big $$$?

    1. Dodger rick

      You just don’t sign these injury prone pitchers, and expect them to make all of there starts.

      You sign pitchers, that have a history of making there starts, to fill your starting rotation.

      Then it might be ok to sign a couple of these type of pitchers that the front office signed, to have in case one of your main horses goes down.

      But you don’t sign these type of pitchers, to be your top depth, of your starting rotation.

      These pitchers that the front office have signed, should be your second and third depth of pitchers, not your penciled in starting rotation.

    2. Good article. At least he brings up the team’s current standings. To be a half game back with your Ace on the DL means something has gone right so far. And FAZ deserves credit for that. So at least he is somewhat objective…and funny. He’s not sure Rich Hill actually exists 🙂

      The part you quote is, IMHO, a far more important point, which I wish the writer would have tackled more in depth. Simply put, is this style of baseball, “something to get excited about”? Is this fun baseball to pay to watch? Is watching a Brett Andsrson or a Brandon McCarthy, or a Scott Kazmir go 4 innings followed by a ridiculous parade of relief pitchers worth the Kings ransom they ask? I highly doubt FAZ take into account the fan’s perspective when displaying the evening’s program. In reality they don’t have to. But it’s a shame when we are honoring one of the few remaining people who actually speak for the fans. Vinny along with Tommy still proclaim the importance of the fans to the ball club. It would be nice if some of that would rub off on FAZ while there is still time.

    3. He’s operating, as are you, on a false assumption: that the Dodgers signed five pitchers with the expectation that two will actually contribute. There’s a subtle if significant difference between signing enough pitchers to provide a hedge IN CASE pitchers get injured, which is always a possibility, and signing pitchers with the expectation they will get injured. You’re making assumptions about the predictability of random injury, which we really can’t do. An analogy in this case might be a hedge fund. You have checks in place in case players falter or get injured, but you don’t deliberately buy equities with bad fundamentals or that are expected to drop in value.

      Kershaw has a serious injury and is on the DL. Should we have known? Is FAZ to be criticized for signing such an injury prone pitcher to such an expensive contract? For many here, Greinke absolutely should have been signed no matter the cost because he was just that good and essential to the success of the team, and the FAZ directed criticism was withering. Now he’s had an extended stay on the DL and is having his statistically worst year in a decade. Should that have been predicted? Contributors here were predicting Maeda would be falling apart right about now. It hasn’t happened.

      My biggest irritation about critics with regards to sports is that they don’t grasp the essential unpredictability of the game. You expect guarantees. I just don’t really think you can make a relationship between an injury that effected the elbow and one that effects the hip and argue that one should have predicted the hip injury because of the elbow injury. A causal relationship is assuming facts not in evidence.

      Predicting that the FO will not resign Kershaw or pursue a free agent in 2018 is assuming a fact not in evidence as well, because it neglects a key difference between the As and the Rays and the Dodgers. The As and Rays operated this way out of financial necessity. Scarcity of resources bred innovation, which created marginal success the the As, Rays, Pirates and Royals in spite of their financial disadvantage. The Dodgers are fundamentally different in that they do have resources, although not finite. I don’t know what the Dodgers will do in 2018 because neither I nor anyone else can predict the future.

      1. Wow Mr. smarter-than-everyone-else. We “Just don’t grasp the essential unpredictability of game”? Wow – you are so much smarter – after watching baseball for over 50 years, I never would have guessed that they actually play the games because the outcomes are unknown and unpredicted before they play them?

        And you really can’t make any kind of prediction? Really? All of the SABRguys refer to regression to the mean – doesn’t that mean that you can predict future outcomes based on past outcomes? In fact, isn’t that really the best predictive factor?

        You can’t make a prediction? At the beginning of the season, didn’t you predict that teams like the Braves and Reds would do badly this year? How? Didn’t you look at their rosters, at the rosters of other teams, and predict an outcome based on that? Don’t you predict that Clayton Kershaw will pitch well almost every time out, based on past experience?

        How much do you know about medicine? Do you know that athletes with shortened tendons and ligaments tend to more injuries (muscle pulls, ligament and tendon injuries)? Haven’t you noticed that certain guys tend to be injured all of the time and some never seem to get injured? Do you really think that the Braintrust is unaware that athletes with injury histories are more likely to be reinjured? No one here is suggesting that Brett Anderson’s recent back injury was caused by his previous elbow injury – only that some athletes are injury prone. Do you have evidence to the contrary?

        The Braintrust signs the injured or injury-prone because they can be signed cheaply. THAT’S BECAUSE OTHER FRONT OFFICES ARE AWARE THAT THEY ARE INJURY-PRONE TOO. If what you say is true, then there would be no reason that the Andersons and McCarthys of the world wouldn’t receive huge contracts, or why the Greinkes and Prices would. Again, the best predictor of the future is the past.

        (By the way, as an aside, learn the difference between “effect” and “affect” – they mean different things and are to be used differently.)

        Finally, if the best predictor of the future is the past, then I don’t predict the Braintrust to sign any big $$$ contracts or to extend Kershaw after 2018. You’re right – we don’t know for sure. I am making a prediction based on past behavior. If you disagree, what is the basis? What past behavior can YOU cite? Remember, The Braintrust said that they were “looking at” making a move for “premium” players at the Deadline – are Reddick or Hill really premium players? If this is their idea of “premium”, then this is a roadmap to future behavior. If it isn’t, then you would have to assume that their quest for “premium” was unsucessful.

  10. Some great points being made today all around.

    The La Times had a nice article today on JT. Highly recommend reading it

    5 hours till game time !

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