All signs continue to point toward the Pittsburgh Pirates trading Tyler Anderson before Friday’s trade deadline
Pittsburgh Pirates left-handed starting pitcher Tyler Anderson has been a model of consistency and durability this entire season. He’s gone 5 or more innings in all of his outings this year while giving up 3 or fewer earned runs in 15 of his 18 starts.
Anderson’s solid production this year as well as being a rental on a club in the midist of a rebuilding season has led to him being one of the more likely players to be moved as we approach this upcoming trade deadline.
According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, there’s a pretty good chance the Pittsburgh Pirates find a trade suitor for an Anderson swap as soon as this upcoming week. He cites two teams as potential fits given their luxury tax situation:
Anderson would make a fit on either team. The defending World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers entered the season with the deepest starting pitching depth among all 30 teams in the MLB. Though throughout the season, that depth has taken some significant hits.
The first was when former top prospect Dustin May underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in May. The Dodgers took an even bigger hit when MLB placed 2020 Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer on administrative leave as he was involved in what looks like a very ugly domestic violence case. Ace Clayton Kershaw is currently on the 10-day IL. While Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, and Tony Gonsolin still make a formidable 1-3 and David Price has been a solid #4 starter, for the time being, Anderson would provide some stability for a team in the playoff hunt.
The Phillies’ starting rotation has been carried by Zack Wheeler, who’s had a phenomenal season so far. But many of the other Phillie starters have underperformed. This is especially the case with right-hander Aaron Nola. The 28-year-old has an ERA over 4.50, albeit with much more promising underlying numbers. The Phils were also getting solid production out of Zach Eflin, but he is currently on the injured list.
However, the rest of the Phillie starters have been poor at best. Vince Velasquez, Matt Moore, and Chase Anderson all have ERA’s and FIP’s above 5.50. Top prospect Spencer Howard has yet to find his footing in the major leagues. Philadelphia’s pitching staff, in general, hasn’t done any favors for the team’s postseason chances. Currently, they’re 4 games away from overtaking the New York Mets for the National League East.
Between the two teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates may be more inclined to deal with the Dodgers. According to FanGraphs they have the 8th best farm system. Meanwhile, the Phillies are only ranked at #26. Though the Phillies may be more willing to offer up more and outbid the Dodgers.
The Dodgers could live with a rotation of Kershaw/Buehler/Urias/Gonsolin/Price for the rest of the 2021 season while the Phillies really haven’t gotten much production out of pitches not named Wheeler or Eflin. In short, the Phillies are in more need of Anderson’s services than the Dodgers are. There’s also the case to be made that the Phils will go after bigger fish than Anderson. Whatever happens, Cherington has gotten good returns for his trades so far and likely won’t let Anderson’s return slip through the cracks simpily because he’s a rental.
Though Morosi cites the Dodgers and Phillies as the two teams who could make the hardest pushes for Anderson, they likely won’t be the only teams. Anderson’s highly affordable contract makes him a fit on any contending team. Teams in the hunt for a playoff spot will at least kick the tires on Anderson, if not be willing to offer something for the Pirates.