Teams have until 4pm Central on Thursday to decide whether or not to issue qualifying offers to eligible players, giving the Dodgers about 24 hours left to make a final decision. If they indeed extend the offer to Anderson, he will have 10 days to talk to other teams and decide whether to accept it or turn it down.
The fact that Anderson is even a candidate for the offer speaks to what an incredible breakout season he had in 2022. Coming into the year, he had a career 4.62 ERA and fairly average peripherals with a 20.5 strikeout rate, 7.1% walk rate and 39.1% ground ball rate. The Dodgers gave him a one-year, $8MM deal for his age-32 season.
That turned out to be a tremendous bargain for the club, as Anderson’s work in Dodger blue far surpassed any of his previous seasons. He appeared in 30 games and tossed 178 2/3 innings with an incredible 2.57 ERA, barely half of his previous average. His rate stats were still fairly similar to his previous ones, though he did drop his walk rate to a stingy 4.8%.
Where he seems to have made strides was inducing poor contact from opposing hitters. He was in the 98th percentile in terms of hard hit rate, going from 33% in 2021 to 28.5% in 2022. His average exit velocity was also 98th percentile while his chase rate was 95th and his barrel rate was 86th. At least part of this could be credited to his changeup, which he threw 31.6% percent of the time compared to just 24.6% of the time in 2021.
Regardless of how he did it, the improvements are enough that the Dodgers are considering a salary more than double what they paid a year ago. If Anderson were to turn down the offer and sign elsewhere, they would be entitled to draft pick compensation. Since the Dodgers paid the competitive balance tax in 2022, their pick would be pushed back until after the fourth round. A signing team would also be subject to the forfeit of at least one pick, with other penalties on the table as well, depending on whether the team was a CBT payer or revenue sharing recipient.
Whether Anderson would accept the offer or not is an interesting question. On the one hand, this is likely his best chance at earning a hefty multi-year paycheck, since he’s coming off a season that could well be the best of his career. On the other hand, he never had a salary above $2.5MM prior to getting the $8MM from the Dodgers a year ago. If he suddenly had a $19.65MM offer on the table, it would likely be hard to turn it down. Based on his excellent campaign, plenty of teams would be interested in signing him, though having to surrender at least one draft pick would temper their offers to some degree.