According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs have come to terms with free-agent left-handed starter Brett Anderson. The terms of the deal are unknown at this time and they are pending a physical, which may not be routine for Anderson.
Throughout Brett Anderson's eight years in the majors with the Athletics, Rockies and Dodgers, two things can be said about him. The first is that he's a pretty good pitcher when healthy. The second is that he's very rarely healthy. Anderson had a good season in Los Angeles in 2015 when he made 31 starts and went 10-9 with a 3.69 ERA. The Dodgers stuck a qualifying offer on him after that season which he accepted.
However, he underwent back surgery in spring training and didn't return to the mound until August. He probably should not have bothered, because he hadn't fully recovered from the surgery and pitched poorly. He managed to make three starts and one relief appearance last season and he threw a total of 11.1 innings and posted an ERA of 11.91. He was hammered in his first two starts in August and was shut down again for another month (officially with a blister) before making one poor start at home against Colorado and one final relief appearance against the Padres, where he pitched 2.1 scoreless innings and got the win.
Despite his injuries, ESPN.com's Keith Law ranked Anderson as the 32nd best free agent available this winter. (Insider Only) Law says he believes in his stuff and feel for pitching, and a team that could even get a few months out of him before he breaks down could get a real bargain.
As Rosenthal's Tweet indicates, the Cubs watched Anderson throw in Arizona and came away impressed enough to offer him a contract. He'll compete with Mike Montgomery for the fifth starter spot and will provide depth in case of an injury to a starter.
We will update this post when the terms of the deal become known, or when we know the results of his physical. If Anderson can return to his 2015 form, the Cubs picked up a very good pitcher, probably for relatively little money.
Source: Brett Anderson's deal with the Chicago Cubs is for $3.5M, should he pass his physical. Incentives can take it up to $10M.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 24, 2017