As I sat down at my deck, coffee in hand, to do my my morning pursuing of Pittsburgh Pirates Social Media-I know I am a glutton for punishment-I noticed a fairly common theme from some Pirates Fans, feeling bad for Tyler Anderson because of the lack of run support he was provided; while pitching a gem, that turned into a quality start.
Now this isn’t the place where I will argue, as some might, about not putting a complete Major League quality lineup on the field as they continue to waste the efforts of a few of the Pirates starting pitchers or that the goal for every game is to win, and I certainly am not going to entertain a single thought about feeling bad for the rotation; especially when it comes to Tyler Anderson. Sure everyone wants to win every time the take the field, or in Mr. Anderson’s case the mound, but don’t pretend for a second he didn’t understand what he was getting into; and mostly importantly the purpose of and/or opportunity for him to be a part of the Pittsburgh Pirates Starting Five.
During the off-season, General Manager Ben Cherington, was asked directly about the possibility of flipping free agents that they planned on signing, and the manner in which they would approach these players: and if you need your memory jogged I wrote about Cherington’s honesty on the subject , with a link provided to Dejan Kovavecic’s Daily Shot of Pirates, back in January. Spoiler alert, he didn’t dance around the topic one bit.
Tyler Anderson came to the Pirates on a 1 year/$2.5 million deal in mid-February, with its only a few conceivable outcomes on the season. 1) He could pitch terrible and be relegated to the bullpen; but the Pirates would still try to trade him. 2) He could pitch OK, and not bring back anything of real substance in a trade; still, you better believe Cherington would try, although, a trade is obviously never guaranteed. 3) He could pitch well, like he is now, and Pittsburgh would do everything they could to trade him; hopefully to the highest bidder. Are you noticing a theme here?
This crafty veteran lefty was brought in here with one purpose for Cherington and the Pirates-potential trade value. And, on the flip side (major pun intended), Anderson more than likely came in here with a fairly similar mentally; of pitching well, and making his way to a contender, while preparing for another unfortunate year of free agency because he doesn’t have a guaranteed contract beyond the 2021 season.
Of course, some could argue about the possibility of signing Anderson to an extension due to his early season success. However, my only advice to you would be to get that thought out of your head, from now until July 30th at 4PM EST; and potentially beyond that. It is always feasible that Cherington could go to Anderson after the season and say, “Hey this was kind of fun, and you did pretty well; what do you say we try this again next year? Same price, same guarantees? We good?”.
Nevertheless, this only occurs IF, and that’s a BIG IF, Tyler Anderson is not traded on or before the MLB Trade Deadline. Also, don’t look for too many teams to be panicking at the beginning of May, to find an arm for a playoff run. Most of these teams have better contingency plans than Pirates Fans have become accustomed to over the years.
So, mark your calendars! July 30th at 4PM EST. This could be a busy one for Cherington and the Pirates, but that sounds like a story for another day.