The Cubs turned to Anderson after their pursuit of Tyson Ross came up empty. Anderson is a savvy addition for Chicago because he will fit the team’s needs neatly. His job won’t be to carry the back of the rotation, but rather to extend it when needed.
The glaring question is his health, but Anderson won’t be called upon to shoulder a lot of innings. If he’s able to remain intact enough to spot start or lengthen the Cubs’ rotation during a stretch of the regular season, this signing is a win. It’s the kind of move that works out well because it costs the Cubs virtually nothing and their risk level is very low. Anderson will not bump Mike Montgomery to the bullpen—and he shouldn’t—but he’s the kind of starting pitching depth the Cubs have been seeking all winter.
Because of the extensive injury history, intentionally limited use will serve him well and will benefit the other five starters on the team. Anderson stands his best chance to remain available if his starts can be spread apart anyway, so looking for him to hit more than 100 innings might not be reasonable. He has logged at least that many in a season only three times in his career, so that should be a reasonable threshold for 2017. Again, his biggest benefit to the team will be his ability to help preserve the rest of the rotation.
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Lead photo courtesy Anthony Grupposo—USA Today Sports