The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday that they’ve selected the contract of left-hander Brett Anderson. Right-handed reliever Leonel Campos was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to clear a spot on the active roster for Anderson. Toronto already had an open 40-man spot, which Anderson has now filled.
As Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet writes, the match between Anderson and the Jays has been years in the making, in some regards. Former GM Alex Anthopoulos thought he’d struck a deal to acquire Anderson from the Athletics in exchange for Sergio Santos back in the 2013-14 offseason, but medical concerns torpedoed the deal at the last minute, per Nicholson-Smith.
Anderson’s arrival in Toronto this time around is under considerably different circumstances. The 29-year-old is now a veteran of four different teams and has demonstrated occasional flashes of excellence while otherwise struggling to stay healthy. Anderson gave the Dodgers 180 1/3 innings of 3.69 ERA ball back in 2015 — enough for Los Angeles to make him a qualifying offer that was then valued at $15.8MM. Anderson became one of the first players to accept the deal, hoping to pad his earning potential with a second consecutive healthy season. However, a back injury limited him to 11 1/3 innings in his second season with the Dodgers.
That injury made Anderson’s decision to accept the QO look especially wise, and it also limited him to a one-year, $3.5MM contract with the Cubs in free agency this past winter. Back issues once again hindered Anderson earlier this summer, and the Cubs eventually designated the lefty for assignment and released him on the heels of an 8.18 ERA through 22 innings. Anderson has pitched 9 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate since signing a minors pact and has allowed just one run; he’ll now hope to occupy a rotation spot down the stretch in hopes of improving his free-agent stock.
As Nicholson Smith notes above, Anderson will be the 14th person to start for the Blue Jays in a 2017 season that has been punctuated by injuries to Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Josh Donaldson, Devon Travis and Troy Tulowitzki (among many others). He’ll draw a tough first task in a Blue Jays uniform, as he’s slated to start tonight against an imposing Red Sox lineup.