Yankees Free Agent Showdown: Tyson Ross or Brett Anderson?
Which broken free agent starting pitcher would be a better fit for the New York Yankees this winter, Brett Anderson or Tyson Ross?
If the New York Yankees don’t want to roll the dice on giving a multi-year deal to Rich Hill this winter, an interesting alternative might be bringing in one or two of the “good when healthy” free agent starting pitchers on the market on single season pacts.
Two of the more talented options from that group include Brett Anderson, most recently of the Los Angeles Dodgers and recently non-tendered San Diego Padres pitcher Tyson Ross.
The biggest surprise of Friday’s non-tender deadline was easily the Friars’ decision to cut ties with Ross. The 29-year-old looked like one of the rebuilding club’s biggest trade chips after pitching to a 3.26 ERA and 2.98 FIP in 196 IP during the 2015 season, emerging as a legitimate front-of-the-rotation option.
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He was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn around $9.6 million in his final year of arbitration next season, which is very reasonable if he is healthy, but Padres general manager A.J. Preller clearly wasn’t convinced that was the case.
Ross underwent thoracic outlet surgery in October to address the shoulder issue that kept him out for the majority of 2016. Everything was said to go well, and the typical four to six month recovery time for the procedure suggests that Ross will be ready to go by the beginning of the regular season.
It’s possible this move is just a reflection of San Diego’s tight finances, but it is worth noting that no one is more familiar with Ross’s medicals than the Padres front office, so the Yankees would want to look very carefully at the status of that shoulder before committing the $10-plus million it will take to land Ross this offseason.
The main advantage of Anderson over Ross is that he’ll likely require a significantly smaller deal because he’s fooled MLB GMs into taking a chance on him too many times before. He has just one season with over 100 innings pitched over the last six seasons, but that campaign was recent and good enough that there is at least a slight hope he could be a useful pitcher next year.
In 2015, Anderson put up a 3.64 ERA and 3.94 FIP in 180.1 IP, making him a useful mid-rotation option. Earlier in his career, he was a frontline starter when healthy, but these days the ceiling is probably lower given the toll so many injuries have taken on his body.
Another selling point of Anderson is that he’s already rehabbed and come back from the back surgery that limited him to just three starts last season. The results were rough when he came back, but with a normal offseason routine to heal and recover, Anderson is further out from his most serious medical procedure than Ross.
Next: Predicting the Yankees' Moves at the Winter Meetings
While I wouldn’t mind New York taking a shot on Anderson, I would be infintely more excited if the Yankees brought in Tyson Ross this winter. He immediately slotted in near the top of my free agent wishlist when the Padres released him.