The Los Angeles Angels have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent left-handed starting pitcher Tyler Anderson, according to multiple reports. The deal is for three years and $39 million, according to Jeff Passan.
Anderson, 32, was an All-Star for the Dodgers last season. He went 15-5 with a 2.57 ERA (163 ERA+), 1.00 WHIP and 138 strikeouts against 34 walks in 178 2/3 innings. He was extended a qualifying offer by the Dodgers, but instead rejected it and chose to sign with the Angels on this multi-year deal instead.
Prior to last season, Anderson was little more than a mediocre starter used for depth purposes. From 2016-21, he had a 4.62 ERA (100 ERA+) and 1.32 WHIP. Much of that came with the Rockies, which is why the ERA looks way too high for an exactly average ERA+. Still, he took a big turn in 2022 at age 32. What happened? Well, other than the Dodgers getting ahold of him, here's what our R.J. Anderson wrote in ranking Tyler Anderson 21st on his top 50 free agent rankings:
Anderson had his finest big-league season at age-32 after he reverted to an old changeup grip. While he's always excelled at suppressing quality contact, he took it a step further in 2022. Indeed, no pitcher with at least 10 starts last season posted a lower average exit velocity against (84.5 mph). Anderson's new/old changeup clocked in a tick slower and with about seven inches more drop. In turn, his changeup proved to be more wood-adverse than Green Lantern, with batters whiffing on 37 percent of their swings. Anderson also gained some extension on his pitches, including his trademark backspin fastball and a cutter that loves to locate to his glove side. (Sometimes he'll drop his arm slot, à la Rich Hill, to throw a sinker.) Even if Anderson regresses, he has a long history of being an average starter at the big-league level.
Assuming the work he did on the change sticks, it's reasonable to believe Anderson can succeed elsewhere and that would make this contract a bargain for the Angels.
The rest of the offseason will greatly reshape rosters across the majors, but right now it looks like you could slot Anderson behind Shohei Ohtani in the Angels rotation with Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers and José Suarez to follow. If there aren't changes, that would be four southpaws behind Ohtani.
On the Dodgers' end, they're likely to have Clayton Kershaw back with Julio Urías atop the rotation followed by Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May. Walker Buehler will likely miss all of 2023 after having Tommy John surgery late in the 2022 season. Right now, youngster Ryan Pepiot would be slated for the fifth spot, but they'll surely be adding to the rotation via trade or free agency.