ANAHEIM -- The Angels made a significant move to bolster their rotation, signing free-agent left-hander Tyler Anderson to a three-year, $39 million deal, the club announced on Wednesday.
Anderson, 32, is coming off a career year with the Dodgers that saw him go 15-5 with a 2.57 ERA in 30 outings (28 starts). He was an All-Star for the first time in his seven-year career and also struck out 138 batters in a career-high 178 2/3 innings. The Dodgers extended him the qualifying offer, but he rejected it, so the Angels will give up a second-round Draft pick for signing him.
“We’re obviously excited to add this caliber of starter to the rotation,” said general manager Perry Minasian. “We feel like we’re going in a positive direction as an organization. I'd like to thank ownership for allowing me to pursue it, being a three-year commitment. But we love the person. We love the competitor. We love the guy. We think he's exactly what we're looking for, not only his talent, but the makeup and bringing that type of competitiveness."
The rotation wasn’t considered as much of a need this offseason after Angels starters posted the sixth-best ERA in the Majors last season, but they wanted to add at least one starter with general manager Perry Minasian confirming the club will stick with a six-man rotation next year. Anderson was considered one of the better starting pitchers available in free agency, and being able to acquire him is a sign that the Angels will continue to operate as usual this offseason despite owner Arte Moreno exploring a sale.
“This was one we talked about, and I expressed my interest level and how I thought he would fit and make our club better,” Minasian said. “And [ownership] was definitely on board.”
Anderson is slated to join a rotation that includes two-way star Shohei Ohtani and young lefties Patrick Sandoval, José Suarez and Reid Detmers. The last spot is up for grabs, with candidates including Jaime Barria, Chase Silseth and Tucker Davidson, as well as Griffin Canning and Chris Rodriguez, who both missed last season due to injuries. Right-hander Michael Lorenzen is also a free agent and has expressed interest in returning to the Angels.
"The biggest thing for us is we need to be in a position where we have a chance to win every day, and that starts with the starter," Minasian said. "We'd like to throw six quality starters out there and have a chance to win every day. And he does that."
Anderson, who had a career 4.62 ERA entering last season, was signed by the Dodgers as a depth option. But over the course of the season, Anderson went from a bullpen piece to a full-time starter and produced the best season of his career. The Angels saw it firsthand at Dodger Stadium on June 15, when he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against them, only for Ohtani to break it up with a one-out triple.
Anderson was a first-round pick by the Rockies in 2011. He struggled to find consistent success in his first six seasons with the Rockies, Giants, Pirates and Mariners. But this season, Anderson elected to go back to his old changeup grip. Pair that with Anderson finally feeling healthy for an entire season, and it wasn’t much of a surprise around the league that the left-hander had such a strong campaign.
The veteran also proved he can pitch efficiently in postseason atmospheres. Anderson started Game 4 of the National League Division Series against the Padres with the Dodgers facing elimination, and he tossed five scoreless innings. He also pitched in the postseason with the Rockies in 2017 and '18, posting a 2.25 ERA in 12 career playoff innings.
"Last year was an amazing year,” Minasian said. “He dominated from start to finish, made the All-Star team, pitched in the postseason extremely well against San Diego. This guy was a first-round pick and was highly touted throughout the Major Leagues, so he's had a lot of attention his whole career. He did things last year that improved his results, like the development of his changeup and using different arm slots against righties and lefties."
Following the season, Anderson had to make a difficult decision. The Dodgers extended Anderson a qualifying offer, which was essentially a one-year, $19.65 million contract, more than double his $8 million salary in '21. Anderson, however, chose to decline the offer in order to cash in on the first multiyear deal of his career.