The Braves starting rotation has been nothing short of fantastic, especially recently. Max Fried is right in the thick of the Cy Young race. Kyle Wright isn’t too far behind, leading the National League in wins. Spencer Strider has also emerged as a frontline starter, and Charlie Morton looks to have found his groove over the last six weeks. The one weak link has been Ian Anderson, who has struggled to find his footing all season to the tune of a 5.31 ERA, and it’s left the Braves with a hole to fill just a week before the trade deadline.
For what it’s worth, and I’ve been adamant about this, I don’t think adding another starting pitcher is a necessity. This is still the best rotation the Braves have had since the rebuild, and it’s not particularly close. Last season, the Braves were trotting out Kyle Wright and Tucker Davidson in World Series games, and things turned out just fine. Two years ago, Bryse Wilson and Kyle Wright were starting in the NLCS. The Braves are in a far better position than they have been when it comes to starting pitching, so unless the right deal comes along before the trade deadline, I don’t expect Alex Anthopoulos to add a starter.
With that being said, the Braves still have to figure out what to do with Ian Anderson. A year ago, he looked like he was blossoming into an ace. He has a 1.26 ERA over eight career postseason starts, and he’s only 24-years-old. There’s no way the Braves are considering giving up on him this early, but continuing to trot him out there every five days to get slaughtered doesn’t seem like a wise move either.
The Braves could opt to send him to AAA for a bit. A stint with the Stripers has been known to do some pitchers wonders, just look at Kyle Wright. But there’s also another option the Braves could consider, which is trading Ian Anderson while he still holds quite a bit of value.
It’s difficult to tell how exactly the rest of the league views Anderson.
On the one hand, he’s 24-years-old and has already had more success than most major-league players ever do, particularly in the postseason. The young man doesn’t blink when thrown into the fire, and there’s no doubt that he could bounce back from this poor season to become a top-of-the-rotation arm again. For a team looking to rebuild, Anderson’s upside has to be enticing.
On the other hand, Anderson’s repertoire could concern potential bidders. He’s primarily a fastball/changeup pitcher, and teams seem to be figuring out how to approach him, fouling off the changeup and feasting on his fastball. Until Anderson can reliably throw a pitch with some horizontal movement, it may be difficult for him to turn things around.
I think Anderson still holds a lot of trade value because of his age and all of the success early in his career. I believe he’ll eventually figure things out, but it might not be as quick as the Braves would like. Given Atlanta’s win-now aspirations, cashing in on Anderson could be the best way to bolster their pitching staff for this year’s World Series run.
The Braves farm system is depleted. Adding a frontline starter at the deadline will be nearly impossible with the prospects at their disposal. However, if they are willing to move on from a high-upside player like Anderson, they could potentially make the splash that a lot of people are looking for at the trade deadline.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
You must log in to post a comment.