The Rangers announced Friday that they’ve claimed righty Shaun Anderson off waivers from the Twins and designated fellow right-hander Tyson Miller for assignment in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster.
The waiver claim brings a quick Twins tenure for Anderson to a close and shines a spotlight on a now-regrettable swap that saw Minnesota send outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. to San Francisco in exchange for Anderson over the winter. At the time, the Twins looked to be dealing from a position of depth and taking a shot on a reliever with a tantalizing slider, but the Twins have been beset by outfield injuries this season and gotten nothing from their end of that exchange. Wade, meanwhile, has batted .257/.350/.443 in an admittedly small sample of 81 plate appearances for the Giants while missing some time with an oblique injury.
Anderson, 26, has been clobbered for 12 runs (nine earned) on 13 hits and five walks with eight punchouts in 8 2/3 innings out of the Twins’ bullpen so far in 2021. A quadriceps strain and a blister issue on his pitching hand have limited him to just four big league appearances and five outings in Triple-A. He’s been sharp in the minors, firing six scoreless innings with five punchouts and three walks.
The Rangers will be the fourth organization for Anderson, originally a third-round selection of the Red Sox back in 2016. He went from Boston to San Francisco via the Eduardo Nunez trade and had a rough showing, mostly out of the rotation, in 2019 before a more intriguing 2020 performance. Anderson tossed 15 2/3 frames last year and fanned 27 percent of his opponents while recording a gaudy 39.7 percent whiff rate on his slider.
The Twins surely hoped they’d be able to pass Anderson through waivers based on his injuries and rough showing in the big leagues so far. Doing so would’ve allowed them to keep him in Triple-A while reallocating his 40-man spot. Had Minnesota not been hit so hard by the injury bug this season, perhaps the club would’ve been able to avoid trying to pass Anderson through waivers at all, but the loss of the right-hander is yet another ramification of the team’s injuries and generally poor showing in 2021.
As for the 25-year-old Miller, he only joined the Rangers a couple weeks back via a waiver claim out of the Cubs organization. The 2016 fourth-rounder at one point was considered to be one of the better arms in a thin Cubs minor league system, but he’s limped to a 7.26 ERA in 57 Triple-A frames between 2019 and 2021.
Miller made two appearances for the Cubs last year, allowing three runs on two hits and three walks without a strikeout in five innings against the Cardinals. Miller has multiple minor league options remaining, so he could pique the interest of another pitching-hungry club. Texas has a week to trade him or attempt to pass him through outright waivers.