Projecting Dodgers’ possible Tyler Anderson contract offer in free agency

Thomas Carannante
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 15: Tyler Anderson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres in game four of the National League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 15, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 15: Tyler Anderson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres in game four of the National League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 15, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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It didn’t take long for Tyler Anderson to become a Los Angeles Dodgers fan favorite. The veteran lefty was among the biggest surprises in Major League Baseball this past season and helped save LA’s rotation from utter disaster.

The unit lost Trevor Bauer the year prior to a record suspension, Dustin May to Tommy John surgery in the middle of 2021 (he returned in late August, but dealt with other ailments), Max Scherzer to free agency, and Walker Buehler to Tommy John surgery midway through 2022.

Plus, Tony Gonsolin got injured down the stretch this season while Andrew Heaney was tasked with filling a back end spot in the rotation. Ryan Pepiot, Mitch White and Michael Grove combined to make 23 starts. This surely was not the Dodgers’ plan.

So when you look at Anderson’s 2.57 ERA, 3.31 FIP, 1.00 WHIP and 138 strikeouts in 30 games (28 starts), totaling 178.2 innings — after he began the year in the bullpen due to the Dodgers allowing Andrew Heaney to choose his “preference” between the rotation and ‘pen — it has to be viewed as one of the most cost-friendly performances across Major League Baseball.

Anderson, 32, made $8 million on a one-year contract this past season. Now, he’ll look to cash out on his first (and likely last) long-term deal in free agency.

Projecting the LA Dodgers’ offer to Tyler Anderson in free agency

Many would guess the Dodgers will be in on the left-hander this offseason, especially since he had a career year under their tutelage. Including those numbers, Anderson owns a 4.16 ERA, 4.18 FIP and 1.25 WHIP in 147 games (141 starts) over seven MLB seasons.

It’s hard to determine what he might get paid. This was just his third season appearing in 30 or more games/starts. He’s only thrown more than 175 innings twice. Then again, he just proved he can deliver for a contender, pitch in the postseason, and consistently limit hard contact (he’s done it now for three straight seasons).

Based on similar comps, it seems like Anderson could earn anywhere between $13-$17 million AAV on his next deal.

Here are some names ranging from the highest AAV to the lowest AAV we just mentioned:

  • Miles Mikolas – $16.75 million
  • Blake Snell – $16.6 million
  • Lance McCullers – $15.8 million
  • Jose Berrios – $15.7 million
  • German Marquez – $15.3 million
  • Luis Severino – $15 million
  • Jon Gray – $15 million
  • Eduardo Rodriguez, Kyle Hendricks, Alex Wood, Carlos Carrasco – $14 million
  • Sonny Gray – $12.7 million

How about something like a five-year, $65 million contract for Anderson? That’s a $13 million AAV and takes him through his age-37 season — his pitching style should help him age well, too. In terms of overall contract value, Anderson’s comps range from $55 million to $77 million.

Something like that is well within the Dodgers’ budget and should give them solid insurance over any potential departures. Maybe couple that with some short-term, high AAV offers for guys like Kershaw, Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander?

Whatever the Dodgers’ plan is, Anderson should be in it with the expectation that he’ll be earning a solid amount for the work he did in 2022.

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