Anderson is arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and projected to earn $1.6M in 2024. The deal removes yet another player from the Braves’ arbitration class, which is now down to six players from 13 at the start of the offseason. Since Anderson was a non-tender candidate anyway, the trade allows Atlanta to at least collect a small fee rather than lose the righty for nothing by cutting him prior to the non-tender deadline.
Best known for his two outstanding years as a bullpen weapon for the Marlins and Rays, Anderson posted great numbers in 2019-20 before running out of gas late in Tampa’s run to the 2020 World Series. The righty was never quite the same again, as injuries cost him essentially all of the next two seasons. Anderson threw just six innings in 2021 before a UCL injury put him on the shelf, and an internal brace procedure in his right elbow was eventually required. Between this surgery and then a bout of plantar fasciitis, Anderson didn’t see any big league action during the 2022 campaign.
It was just over a year ago that the Rays waived Anderson, only for the Braves to sign him to a split contract. The good news is that Anderson was able to return to a major league mound, and he was pretty effective in posting a 3.06 ERA over 35 1/3 innings and 35 appearances, along with a 25.5% strikeout rate and 6.4% walk rate. Unfortunately, injuries again sidelined the 33-year-old, as he missed more than two months due to a shoulder strain and made only three minor league appearances after July 7. Even at a pretty modest arbitration salary, Anderson was deemed expendable by the Braves.
Matt Quatraro was a coach with the Rays during Anderson’s tenure in Tampa Bay, so the Royals manager is very familiar with what Anderson can do when healthy. Even the righty’s 2023 numbers indicated that he still has some of his old magic still in the tank, and for a Kansas City team in need of bullpen help, adding Anderson is a relatively inexpensive bet the Royals are willing to make. Since the Royals might be out of contention again next season, Anderson might also be an intriguing trade chip to be flipped at the deadline, particularly since he is controllable through the 2025 season.