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Fare Thee Well Brian Anderson

A nice in-season addition to the miracle run at contention in 2003, Brian Anderson parted ways with the Royals yesterday, signing a Minor League contract with Texas. The departure is a bitter pill for the Royals, who stuck with Anderson through a mostly awful 2004, and a mostly injured 2005. Specific terms of the deal were not released, although its likely that BA received a larger bonus offer from Texas.

Anderson's hovered around league average for almost a decade now, briefly dipping his ERA into the 3's during his career season in 2003, which featured a 3.71 ERA with the Tribe (148 IP) and a 3.99 mark with the Royals (49.7 IP). The next season Anderson cratered, posting a 5.64 ERA in 166 innings, losing his starter's role after 26 appearances, and spending most of mid-season with an ERA closer to 10, than to 5.

Here's what I wrote about Anderson at that time:

Last season, Anderson got off to a hot start with the Indians, although its really not clear how. He was basically the same guy, he just didn't give up as many earned runs, and his ERA dipped into the 3's. Weirder still, aside from allowing a few less hits, his K-rate started dropping, revealing that he was either a) somehow effectively pitching to contact (an idea that may or may not actually be possible) or b) getting a little lucky with what fell in for hits while not actually fooling hitters much.

In 2004, the bottom's completely fallen out. Say what you want about DIPS Theory and Pitcher Batting Average Allowed as an indicative tool- but when you're allowing a .360 average you stuff is weak. Bottom line. As you can see, his K-rate has decayed even further, so much so that now his walks are equalling his strikeouts. There are many paths to an ERA in the 7s, but allowing a .360 BA with no strikeouts in front of a bad defense might be the easiest route of all.

Anderson improved a little as the season wound down, just in time for an uninspiring start to 2005, and eventual TJ surgery.

Consistently vulnerable to the longball, Anderson typified the Royals pitching staffs of the last few seasons: little walks, little Ks, lots of flyballs in play. Slightly better than Jimmy Gobble or Jose Lima, Anderson's largely interchangable with a non-hyped Greinke or even Runelvys to an extent. He's a useful pitcher perhaps, and in a place like Florida could easily post deceptively good numbers. I'm not sure how he'll survive Texas, assuming he eventually makes the team.

Clearly, Anderson passes the Showalter Acceptability Test, which may or may not be dictating matters down in the Metroplex these days. From the Rangers' end, here's what The Newberg Report had to say:

Anderson had his best season in 2003, going 14-11, 3.78 with Cleveland and Kansas City. He struggled with the Royals in 2004, however, going 6-12, 5.64 in 26 starts and nine relief appearances, and he lasted only a month in 2005 (1-2, 6.75) before he was shut down with the elbow injury.

As I mentioned in my last report, Anderson has been an outstanding post-season pitcher in his career. In 11 lifetime playoff appearances (six with Cleveland and five with Arizona), his combined ERA is 2.43 and opponents have managed to hit just .200 off of him.

Anderson's career record is 82-83, 4.74. The defense behind him is key, as he doesn't strike out a lot of batters (4.2 per nine innings), but he doesn't walk many, either (2.0 per nine). He's not going to work in the 90s, his groundball-to-flyball ratio isn't particularly good, and he's relatively hittable (.287 opponents' average). But he's had success in the American League and, if it all works out, he could offer Texas a left-handed presence in the rotation, if needed, or a viable candidate to work out of the bullpen.

Should we snicker at the celebration of BA's postseason acumen, or merely ponder the fact that the Rangers may be considering such a quality?? Hey, this guy had three good starts 5 years ago... GET HIM NOW!

Anderson leaves the Royals 55th All-Time in team innings pitched (246.1 and 59th All-Time in Wins (12). Never a strikeout man, Anderson ranks only 77th on the Royals' K register.

Anderson was actively involved in numerous Royal community efforts, charitable and otherwise, and by all accounts was/is a decent, normal guy. In that sense, its hard to be too down on him.

My hometown is Geneva Ohio, which honored me with "Brian Anderson Day" in 2004.