The Royals have acquired right-handed reliever Nick Anderson from the Braves for cash, according to reporter Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Anderson appeared in 35 games this year with the Braves with a 3.06 ERA and 36 strikeouts to just 9 walks in 35 1⁄3 innings. He is under club control for the next two seasons and MLB Trade Rumors projects he will make about $1.6 million through the arbitration process this year.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Royals designated Austin Cox for assignment. The 26-year-old left-hander had a 4.54 ERA in 35 2⁄3 innings, but suffered a knee injury late in the year.
Anderson had an unusual path to the big leagues, going from St. Cloud State to an NAIA school in North Dakota called Mayville State. The Brewers took him in the 32nd round in 2012 but he did not sign and spent three seasons in the independent Frontier League where the Twins signed him. He was traded to the Marlins in 2019, and had a remarkable MLB debut, with a 3.32 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 65 innings with just 18 walks as Miami flipped him to Tampa Bay mid-season.
He had a 0.55 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings in the shortened 2020 season, but battled injuries in 2021 that required elbow surgery. He missed the entire 2022 season, and was non-tendered, signing with the Braves this year. After 35 games this year, he landed on the Injured List with a shoulder strain in July, missing the remainder of the season.
Anderson’s fastball velocity is down a tick from his pre-surgery days, sitting at 94 mph. He has a devastating curveball that he throws about half the time, and opponents hit just .161 off of it this year with a 40 percent whiff rate.
The Braves already had a set bullpen, and Anderson was likely going to be a non-tender candidate for today’s deadline. In Kansas City, he will surely be a candidate for late inning situations, with Royals general manager J.J. Picollo indicating they would likely have a “closer by committee” situation.