Stop me if you’ve heard this story before – left-handed starter Brett Anderson, now playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, is …. wait for it … INJURED! “No!” you say? Oh yes, and not for the first, second, third or even fourth time in his career.
Anderson left the Dodger’s game against the Atlanta Braves after two and two thirds innings with irritation in his left Achilles tendon. He allowed three runs on five hits prior to giving way to reliever Chin-hui Tsao.
A rookie in 2009, with what seemed like limitless potential, Anderson pitched a full season for the Oakland Athletics going 11-11 in 30 starts. He post a 4.06 ERA and 1.28 WHIP over 175.1 innings that season. He has not pitched a full season since.
Anderson made 19 starts for the A’s the following season. In 2011, he made 13 starts and it just got worse from there. He was placed on the DL in June that year and was out for the season (and more) recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Towards the end of the 2012 season Anderson returned to make six regular season starts for the A’s, along with a strong performance in the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers. Of course, as everyone knows, the A’s lost that series, being shutout by Justin Verlander in game five. This came after the team had a magical season in which they were projected to lose 100 games but ended up winning the AL Western Division Crown on the final day of the season.
The A’s lost and it was really the last time that Anderson shined in his career. He was named the 2013 Opening Day starter but made just 16 appearances for Oakland (five starts) before being put on the 60-day disabled list with a stress fracture in his right foot.
He was traded to the Colorado Rockies the following season in a trade that brought current A’s pitcher Drew Pomeranz and minor-leaguer Chris Jensen to Oakland. The new scenery didn’t stop Anderson’s injuries from coming. He suffered a broken hand early on in the season after being hit by a pitch (see pitchers shouldn’t hit!). He was later shut down, after making a total of only eight starts for the Rockies in 2014, needing season-ending back surgery.
The Rockies, smartly, used their option to buyout Anderson’s contract and he became a free-agent. Now this is where I really begin to be confused. He’d pitched in a total of 92 games (81 starts) over six seasons, that is a roughly 50 percent of the number of games a healthy starting pitcher would have pitched in that time span.
Anderson’s injury history up to this point, the point when the Dodgers signed him to a one-year deal, was really much more than just being simply “injury-prone.” So what in the entire world possessed anyone – let alone the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have the highest payroll in the league with money to spare – to even consider signing Anderson in the first place?
The Dodgers signed him, if only to a one-year contract, expecting him to be a stable part of their starting rotation. What made them think that pitching in LA would make him any healthier than him pitching in Oakland or Colorado?
There’s no good reason that anyone could provide that would make me satisfied that this move was thought through at all! It was completely insane, and now it has comeback to bite the Dodgers.
The severity of this latest injury to Anderson’s Achilles tendon is still unknown. He will be reevaluated Wednesday. The team has already lost both mediocre starter Brandon McCarthy to Tommy John surgery as well as Hyun-jin Ryu for the season and losing Anderson for any significant period of time will greatly hinder the team.
They should be able to get through the week, having had an off-day on Monday with another on Thursday, but Sunday it will be Anderson’s turn once again. How the Dodgers will fill his role is a mystery and I’d be extremely surprised if this injury to his Achilles is not more serious than it already appears.
The injury isn’t as bad as the Achilles injuries that have ended the seasons of St. Louis Cardinals’ ace Adam Wainwright or Braves’ closer Jason Grilli and that’s a good sign for Los Angeles. But this is Brett Anderson we are talking about. In all likelihood, based on the facts of the past six and a half seasons, there’s a good chance we will not see him pitch again for the foreseeable future, if ever.
Taking yet another chance on Brett Anderson is not in the best interest of ANY team in Major League Baseball even if this injury doesn’t turn out to be season-ending.