Person of Interest: New Blue Jays pitcher Brett Anderson

Back and rested from their vacation, Tim and Sid discuss if a .500 record is good enough to sneak into an AL wild card spot, and if Jays fans should cling onto any hopes of postseason baseball.

The Toronto Blue Jays have bolstered their pitching depth by agreeing to a minor-league deal with veteran left-hander Brett Anderson.

Anderson made six starts for the Chicago Cubs earlier this season and was released by the team in late July. He is expected to report to triple-A Buffalo but injuries to Aaron Sanchez and Cesar Valdez mean Anderson could get some starts with the big club this season.

Here’s everything you need to know about the newest Blue Jays pitcher.

Name: Brett Anderson
Position: Pitcher
Throws: Left
Age: 29
Place of birth: Midland, Texas
Height: 6-3
Weight: 230 pounds
Drafted: Second round, 55th overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006

Career started strong with the Oakland A’s

Anderson was drafted by the Diamondbacks but he made his MLB debut with the Oakland Athletics.

The A’s acquired him from the Diamondbacks in 2007 and Anderson made the jump to the majors in 2009. That season he made 30 starts for the team, posting a 4.06 ERA and a team-high 150 strikeouts in 175.1 innings. He was also named the September 2009 American League rookie of the month.

But Anderson was unable to immediately replicate his strong first season and after four more injury plagued years with the A’s he was traded to the Colorado Rockies in 2013.

The best season of his career came in 2015 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Anderson made 31 starts that year, posting a 10-9 record in a career-high 180.1 innings. His 3.69 ERA that season was his best when making more than 10 starts in a season and he had 116 strikeouts.

For his career, he has 40-45 record in 121 starts with a 3.99 ERA.

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Injuries have followed Anderson everywhere

Broken bones, back surgery and Tommy John surgery in 2011 are just some of the aliments that have sidelined Anderson during his nine-year career.

“It’s like a stunt double,” he said in an interview with Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times while he was playing for the Dodgers in 2015. “For me, being fairly unathletic, to hurt so many parts of my body, that’s pretty remarkable.”

Injuries are also why Anderson hasn’t seen much MLB action in the past two seasons. Back surgery in March of 2016 limited him to only 11.1 innings with the Dodgers that year. This season hasn’t been much better, as Anderson was limited to only six starts with the Cubs before being placed on the disabled list with a lower-back strain in May.

The Cubs removed him from the disabled list and then designated him for assignment on July 26, which made him available for the Blue Jays to sign.


Anderson gives Blue Jays options as the season winds down

While not officially eliminated from playoff contention, the Blue Jays have already shown they are looking to the future and Anderson could be a part of that.

Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ are the only healthy regular starters in the rotation which gives the Blue Jays a chance to audition other pitchers, especially once the roster expands in September. Anderson will begin with triple-A Buffalo but expect him to be one of the players that gets a chance to show management what he can do.

When at his best, Anderson brings a lot of movement that leads to a lot of strikeouts. For his career he has 6.65 strikeouts per nine innings, according to Fan, with that number only dipping below five once, in his injury-shortened 2016 with the Dodgers.

With a fastball that hovers just above 90 m.p.h., Anderson also uses a slider to fool hitters. As this video shows, that pitch is filthy.

Anderson is an Olympic bronze medalist

Before making his major-league debut, Anderson helped the United States win a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He made two starts in the Olympic tournament, including a 5-4 win against Canada, and threw seven strong innings in the bronze-medal game against Japan.

Some of the other notable players on that 2008 Olympic team include Jake Arrieta, Stephen Strasburg and Dexter Fowler.

Arrieta had high praise for his Olympic teammate when Anderson joined the Cubs at spring training earlier this year.

“He’s very cerebral, a very smart pitcher,” the 2015 National League Cy Young winner said, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.

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