The Milwaukee Brewers face a tough option decision on starting pitcher Chase Anderson this offseason.
Shortly after a stellar 2017 season, the Milwaukee Brewers signed Chase Anderson to a modest contract extension that included a guaranteed two years for 2018 and 2019 and then two club option years for 2020 and 2021, potentially buying out one year of free agency.
Two underwhelming seasons later and the Brewers are facing their first option decision on Anderson.
What Is Anderson’s Club Option?
The option for the 2020 season carries an $8.5 million salary, with just a $500k buyout. He played on a $6.5 million salary in 2019, which means he’d get a two million dollar raise.
What Should The Brewers Do?
During the 2018 playoff run, Chase Anderson didn’t make either of the postseason rosters. Given his struggles with the long ball, it was a wise choice. Then in 2019, he didn’t make the starting rotation out of spring training, then was forced into duty in the rotation after the struggles of Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta.
Anderson did fine, but was nothing spectacular in 2019, with his ERA jumping to 4.21 on the season. He certainly hasn’t been anywhere close to his 2017 self that saw him emerge as an “ace” and earn that contract extension.
Instead of the upward trend the Milwaukee Brewers expected when they signed him to that deal, it’s been the opposite. Anderson’s gotten worse with each passing season.
However, given the current lack of experienced starting options in the rotation, Anderson could still be a somewhat valuable piece of the staff next year, if he’s brought back. The only veteran returners are Zach Davies and Brandon Woodruff. So the argument could be made that he could still provide value.
Should the Brewers decide not to exercise that club option, Anderson is still eligible for arbitration, which would be his third and final year. His projected arbitration number is north of $10 million, so there’s no way the Brewers are going for that. If they decline his option, he will be non-tendered as well and become a free agent.
Time To Start Fresh
Given Anderson’s two-year stretch of struggles with the home run ball and the Brewers need for production out of the starting rotation, it’s time for the two to part ways. They tried for a bounceback year for him in 2019 and it didn’t really work, and the team was stuck with another subpar rotation. Anderson needs to try to work things out someplace else.
The Brewers meanwhile, need to find higher upside and potential for their rotation. A group of back-end starters masquerading as No. 1’s and No. 2’s is not the way to build a World Series caliber starting rotation.
With the biggest priorities this offseason being to re-sign Yasmani Grandal and/or Mike Moustakas, the Crew needs to find as much money as they can to pay them. The $8.5 million chunk that Anderson would take up can be much better utilized in the salary for Grandal, Moose, or a different starting pitcher.
While depth in the starting rotation is important, that can be found at a much lower salary and provide better production than what Anderson has brought. Not clearing his salary and moving on would be a mistake the Milwaukee Brewers can ill-afford to make.
The Crew gave Anderson plenty of chances to get back to his dominant self, but just couldn’t find it, and now it’s time for both to move on.