Check out the following stats:
In his last eight starts, he posted a 4.20 ERA, a .250 batting average against, and 30 strikeouts as the Rockies went 4-4.
In five starts in September, he recorded a 3.86 ERA in 25 2/3 innings with 20 strikeouts and a .222 batting average against.
In his final three starts of 2023, he put up a 1.47 ERA with 14 strikeouts, a .167 batting average against, and three earned runs surrendered in 18 1/3 innings. The Rockies were 2-1 over the stretch with wins against the Giants and Dodgers.
In his 17 starts in 2023, the Rockies went 8-9 — a .471 winning percentage compared to the team’s .364 mark. He made four quality starts and had three scoreless outings.
For a year when the Rockies pitching staff fell apart and was ravished by injuries, this is pretty good, right?
These numbers were brought to you by Chase Anderson.
The Rockies claimed Anderson off waivers after Tampa Bay designated him for assignment on May 16. For the rest of the season, Anderson plugged a huge hole for the Rockies. It was still a horrendous season for the Rockies — the worst in franchise history. Without Anderson, a 35-year-old who made his MLB debut in 2014, the Rockies would have finished with more than 103 losses.
Despite his age, the Rockies need to re-sign Anderson in 2024. With an elite rookie class led by Ezequiel Tovar, Nolan Jones, and Brenton Doyle, the Rockies offensive and defensive future looks brighter. But without a significantly improved starting rotation and bullpen, it won’t translate to fielding a competitive team.
Austin Gomber, Kyle Freeland, and Ryan Feltner will anchor the 2024 rotation. Germán Márquez isn’t expected back until mid-July and Antonio Senzatela will be out until at least August. Peter Lambert could be an interesting option in 2024 after posting a 4.50 ERA in 56 innings over 11 starts, but his health remains a question mark. Ty Blach had some good appearances, but he’s more of a fit for a long reliever than a piece of the rotation. Chris Flexen isn’t the answer and Noah Davis is still working things out. The Rockies need Anderson.
While a trade of the Rockies surplus position players and prospects for starting pitching would be ideal, I am not holding my breath on a trade. Rockies fans can hope and should be encouraged by more trade action before the deadline in 2023, but it’s too soon to call Colorado a strategic trade facilitator in the name of a concrete future plan for winning.
Even though Anderson missed six weeks of the season on the IL with shoulder inflammation, he only got better since his return on Sept. 3. Unlike other rotation fillers this season and last, Anderson pitched better and better as the season went on. It took until that 17th start for Anderson to get his first win of the season, but that’s more about the lack of offensive support and the bullpen blowing games after.
His best effort of the season came when he threw a no-hitter through seven innings at Coors Field against the Giants. Three walks in the second inning allowed the Giants to score a run, but Anderson was pulled in the eighth (because apparently not throwing more than 101 pitches is worth more than the glory of a possible no-hitter).
Anderson actually pitched better at Coors Field this season, posting a 4.47 ERA in 48 1/3 innings over 10 starts, compared to his 5.75 overall ERA. That’s more than enough proof the Rockies need to re-sign him and do it sooner rather than later. The Rockies paid Anderson $549,682 this season and he’d be worth much more than that for a one-year 2024 contract.
If the Rockies learned anything in 2023, it’s that the team needs more depth in starting pitching. Even if they get a new starting pitcher through a trade and even if Anderson just serves as a bridge until Márquez returns, the Rockies need more stability in the rotation in 2024.
If dreams of playoff contention in 2025 are to come true, the rotation and bullpen need a makeover now to see what could actually translate to wins in 2025. While the pitching staff builds back from injuries and the prospects the team is relying on continue to develop, the Rockies need to re-sign Anderson.
★ ★ ★
Rockies fans can read this and find hope. The Rockies front office should read this and take notes. After all, the Rangers and Diamondbacks both lost over 100 games in 2021. Two years later, they are in the World Series. Trades were pivotal to the path to winning, combined with solid draft picks, an influx of international players, and some free agents. Texas spent more money than the Rockies ever will with a 2023 payroll of over $250 million, which was fourth most in Major League Baseball. However, the Rockies spent over $171 million last season on payroll (No. 16 in MLB) and Arizona ranked No. 21 at just over $119 million.
After starting 2023 on a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rockies, Pierce Johnson earned a nice payday on Wednesday when he signed a two-year deal for $14.5 million with Atlanta. The 32-year-old Denver native pitched relatively well for the Rockies, recording 13 saves and four holds in 43 appearances, despite a 6.00 ERA in 39 innings. Looking to build for the future, the Rockies traded Johnson to the Braves and received two pitching prospects, Victor Vodnik and Tanner Gordon, in exchange. Johnson then crushed in Atlanta, recording a 0.76 ERA in 24 appearances with eight holds. He then posted three scoreless appearances in the postseason for the Braves.
★ ★ ★
Arizona Fall League
After a 7-2 victory on Wednesday, the Salt River Rafters (10-11) had the day off on Thursday. The Rafters will take on the Scottsdale Scorpions on Friday and the Glendale Desert Dogs on Saturday.
★ ★ ★
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