Both have a track record of some success, but struggled in 2019. Free agent lefty Brett Anderson however, is a pitcher with a track record of some success. But while he struggled in the 2017-2018 seasons, going 8-9 with a 5.24 ERA and a 1.452 WHIP, he pitched much better last season.
Any team can sign him now, but he did not make MLBTradeRumors.com’s list of the top 50 available free agents. He was listed as honorable mention.
Does that make him someone that could be within reach of the Orioles?
It seems unlikely, but he is a pitcher that signed late and for low-dollar amounts the last two years. The A’s signed him in March 2018 to a minor league contract. Last year, he got a big league deal from Oakland, but just for a one-year guarantee of $1.5 million on Feb. 13.
Then he went 13-9 with an ERA of 3.89 that ranked 10th-best in the American League. Over 176 innings, he allowed 181 hits with 49 walks and 90 strikeouts. He averaged allowing 1.0 homers per nine innings with 2.5 walks and 4.6 strikeouts, which was the lowest in the majors.
With a fastball that averaged 91.4 mph, he is not throwing the ball by any hitters, but he had a groundball rate of 54.5 last year and it is 56.8 for his career.
But the 11-year vet has dealt with injury issues, many related to his back, over the years. He made just 33 starts from 2016-18. Then he made 31 starts last season and it was the first time he made more than 17 starts since 2015 and just the third time in his career he started 20 or more games. His innings pitched were second to his 180 1/3 with the Dodgers in 2015. His ERA was his best since 2015 (3.69) and his average of 1.02 home runs per nine innings was fifth-lowest in the AL.
As a strange bonus to whichever team gets him, if it’s an AL squad, he could help out hitting in interleague games. Anderson was 4-for-8 as a hitter to become just the third AL pitcher in the designated hitter era with four or more hits in a season. He joined the Orioles’ Zack Britton (five in 2011) and the Twins’ Eric Milton (four in 1998).
Anderson also shows us that a pitcher coming off injury issues - and with not great stats - can turn it around as he did last season. So that is another reason not to totally discount Estrada and Cahill.
Meanwhile, former Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez is also on that honorable mention list just outside the top 50 free agents. He obviously has a solid track record, pitching to a 2.96 ERA over 201 innings as recently as 2017 for Washington.
In August 2018, he was traded by the Nats to Milwaukee. He then signed March 20, 2019 with the Yankees. It was a minor league deal, but would pay him $3 million in the majors with a chance to earn $12 million. But none of that ever happened when New York released him April 22 after he took an opt-out when they didn’t bring him onto the big league roster. Five days later, he was a Brewer again, this time signing for $2 million with the chance to earn $2 million more.
In 19 games and 17 starts for Milwaukee, he went 3-2 with a 3.50 ERA. Over 87 1/3 innings, he allowed 37 walks with 78 strikeouts, a 1.294 WHIP, 0.9 homers per nine, 3.8 walks and 8.0 strikeouts.
But he went on the injured list June 1 with arm fatigue and didn’t pitch again until July 20. He would finish strong, however, pitching to an ERA of 1.17 with a .193 average against in six games and 23 innings in September.
Could either of these lefties make it onto the O’s radar and would they have interest in signing here?
This should be fun: Adam Jones isn’t with the Orioles anymore to host his annual tailgate before a Ravens game, but Trey Mancini is going to do so. And it’s this Sunday. The proceeds benefit O’s and Ravens superfan Mo Gaba, who is battling cancer for the fourth time. What a great cause! Click here to read more.