With Improved Middle Infield Defense, Brewers Should Sign Brett Anderson

Brett Anderson, Milwaukee Brewers Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Anderson, Milwaukee Brewers Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The Brewers recently acquired second basemen Kolten Wong. As a two-time Gold Glove award winner in each of the last two season, your imagination as to what to expect in terms of up the middle defense with a combination of Wong and Arcia should be endless.

According to Fangraphs, Wong had 41 defense runs saved (DRS) over the past three seasons and Arcia had 4. Weirdly enough, Arcia had -5 defense runs saved in 2020 as compared to 2 DRS in 2019 and 7 DRS in 2018. If you exclude Arcia’s 2020 season, his 9 DRS combined from 2018-2019 ranks him as the 9th best shortstop in that category.

Regardless, the combination of Wong and Arcia will greatly trump the combination of Hiura and Arcia. Since Hiura made his debut in 2019, he has the second worst DRS ahead of only Jurickson Profar.

That being said, the Brewers should look to maximize their value in now having a superb middle defense. One way to do so would be re-signing former Brewer and current free agent Brett Anderson.

Anderson, primarily a ground ball pitcher, made 10 starts for the Brewers in 2020 and posted a respectable 4.21 ERA. A repeat blister issue causes him to push his first start of the season back to August 3rd and limited him to just two innings of work in his final start of the season.

Overall, six of his ten starts went for a minimum of five innings of work with four of those instances going six innings in duration.

Being a ground ball pitcher, a strong defense behind Anderson will certainly help maximize the value he brings as a pitcher. 2020 was not the best representation of that, because while Anderson was on the hill with the Brewers, four total errors were committed and two of them came from Keston Hiura.

Had Anderson been provided a middle defense of Wong and Arcia and if 2020 was a normal length season, I think many fans would have loved what Brett Anderson brought to the Brewers as a middle to back end of the rotation starter. Now that the defense is improved, bringing him back on a new contract certainly sounds enticing.

Anderson contract last season was for $5MM. It is not out of the question that he could sign for similar money or even slightly less. The Brewers could use another veteran starter, so why not bring Anderson back given his familiarity with the ballclub, catchers, and the now improved middle infield defense?

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The rotation lacks certainty in production beyond Woodruff and Burnes at the top, so a reunion with Anderson could be beneficial for the Crew.