Brett Anderson, Hot stove

Brett Anderson’s injury-prone career continues with Dodgers

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.

brett anderson
Brett Anderson. Getty Images.

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?

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Brett Anderson. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images.

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.  

Did they think that they’d be able to get away with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke carrying the pitching staff on their own? That’s obviously impossible, despite, Greinke’s dominance of late. 

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.

  • Jethro73

    I remember people making this same argument before the season started, stating logically that he was very doubtful to throw 200 innings. Someone (LADFO) said that they hoped to get Anderson for 120 solid innings and figure out how to get the other 80. That made a bit of sense to me at the time and since he has pitched 110 so far with a 3.33 ERA, sounds reasonable still. You didn’t mention how much they paid him for this one season, but even if that is a factor, they’ve done what they said they were trying to do (more or less). Questionable? Sure. Completely insane? Oh come now!

    • I was unaware of the 120 innings part. I see that they were being realistic which IS smart. And when I mentioned (although I know you didn’t, while I like Brandon McCarthy as a person, he and his wife are hilarious – he’s a back of the rotation starter at best which I know is what they expected him to be before Ryu went down but I think the four years was a little much … that seemed a bit insane to me – I tend to exaggerate so maybe I should say questionable 🙂 ) I just looked it up – Anderson gets $10 million for the year, plus up to $4 million in incentives for innings pitched. To me that’s a lot of money but that is also coming from an A’s fan when our highest paid player makes $11 million a year but since he is a Dodger I can still see why it isn’t completely insane. Also, I do NOT like Brett Anderson (he’s kind of an asshole) so that’s another reason why I was like almost gleeful that he keeps getting injured. It’s mean, I know but so is he. And finally – that is why I write these kind of stories for my blog and not for my work … I can be a little more expressive and a little more me! LOL! 🙂 Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I appreciate it!

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