The Brewers reportedly added some depth to their position player group on Tuesday night, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the club is in agreement with veteran third baseman and outfielder Brian Anderson. Craig Mish reported on Wednesday morning that the one-year deal is for $3.5 million with up to $2 million available in incentives.
Free-agent infielder/outfielder Brian Anderson in agreement with Brewers, pending physical, sources tell @TheAthletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 18, 2023
Brian Anderson’s deal with the Milwaukee Brewers is 1 year $3.5 million dollars, with $2 million dollars in incentives per sources. Pending physical etc. https://t.co/t7bnLjkA3e— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) January 18, 2023
Anderson, who turns 30 in May, was a third-round pick of the Miami Marlins in the 2014 amateur draft. He reached the major leagues in 2017 and enjoyed a productive start to his career, slashing .266/.349/.431 (111 OPS+) in 366 games through the 2020 season.
The last few years have not been as kind to Anderson, who has played in just 165 games since the start of the 2021 season. He missed much of that year due to a left shoulder subluxation that required surgery that winter. He again missed significant time last season due to back spasms and a reoccurrence of his shoulder problems in late June.
When Anderson has been able to take the field in the last two seasons, he has slashed .233/.322/.359 (90 OPS+), including a career-worst .222/.311/.346 line in 2022. His quality of contact metrics and strikeout rate have slipped relative to his productive run earlier in his career.
Perhaps the Brewers believe that better health will help Anderson make good on some untapped potential in his bat, but he profiles best as a versatile depth piece.
Anderson began his career as a third baseman but picked up right field in 2018 and has since split his time between the two positions. Defensive Runs Saved believes Anderson to be a passable defender at the hot corner and above average in the outfield, but Statcast’s Outs Above Average has been bearish on his glove at both posts.
Mish indicated that Anderson is expected to spend much of his time at third base, which would shift Luis Urias to second base. However, it would be surprising if Anderson doesn’t take on some outfield work as well.
While he doesn’t provide much thump against left-handed pitching—his career .702 OPS against southpaws is lower than his .766 mark against right-handers—Anderson brings some balance to what was a heavily left-handed outfield group. Before this signing, Tyrone Taylor and switch-hitter Blake Perkins were the only right-handed hitting outfielders on the 40-man roster.
Anderson’s defensive home may be subject to change based on how prospects like Garrett Mitchell, Sal Frelick, Joey Wiemer and Brice Turang perform in their rookie seasons. In any case, he provides the Brewers with a respectable floor at multiple positions should some of their younger players struggle.
Milwaukee’s 40-man roster is full, meaning the club will have to announce a corresponding move to clear a space for Anderson once the signing becomes official.