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February 03, 2021

Phillies sign veteran righty Chase Anderson to one-year deal

For much of the offseason, it was looking like the Phillies would be entering the 2021 season with nearly the same starting rotation they used for the majority of the 2020 season, minus veteran Jake Arrieta. It was looking like top pitching prospect Spencer Howard would open the season as a starter with Vince Velasquez getting the other final spot behind Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Zach Eflin. 

Now, in the course of a few short days, the back end of that rotation is looking quite different. First, the team signed veteran lefty Matt Moore to a one-year deal late last week, a move that became official on Wednesday. Then, just a few minutes later, the team announced that they had added another veteran starter, right Chase Anderson, on a one-year deal. 

The addition of Moore, as some suggested, likely pushed Howard from the starting rotation to open the season. The young starter has a history of injury and threw just 24.1 innings last season, so it wouldn't be surprising to see the Phillies try to bring him along slowly, a luxury they now have thanks to recently added depth. 

MORE: Projecting the Phillies' 2021 Opening Day roster, version 2.0 | Phillies running it back, but think it'll be different this time | MLB Rumor Roundup: Analyzing the Phillies' recent moves and what they have left

Now, with Anderson on board as well — his $4 million contract suggests he'll be in contention for a starting job as well — Velasquez could also find himself on the outside of the rotation looking in, which may not be the worst thing for a veteran starter who is often a liability on the mound, with short starts that can often lead to an over-extended bullpen, but who has found some success throwing out of the bullpen. (Unless, of course, the Phillies are interested in some sort of six-man rotation.)

These two additions also allow the Phillies to have some extra guys available for spot starts, something that could prove important in 2021 as COVID cancellations could lead to a high number of double-headers again this season. Conversely, both Moore and Anderson have experience coming out of the bullpen, so they could chip in there as well depending on how the season plays out. 

Last season was Anderson's seventh in the majors and first in the American League, playing with the Blue Jays. Previously, he spent two years in Arizona followed by four years in Milwaukee. For the 33-year-old righty, 2020 was not just a down season, but a strange one as well.

Anderson also got acquainted with one of his new teammates.

The Phillies will need to hope Anderson can bounce back from a 2020 season in which he posted career worsts in ERA, WHIP, ERA+, FIP and pretty much every metric you want to use. Phillies are clearly banking on the fact that a weird, uneven and shortened season was the cause for the dip. And if Anderson can get back to his pre-COVID numbers, they Phillies might be getting a steal at $4 million. 

Prior to that rough 2020 campaign in which he posted a 7.22 ERA and a 1.634 WHIP, Anderson had been a pretty reliable starter, going 53-40 in 160 starts with a 3.94 ERA and a 1.261 WHIP.

That's the pitcher the Phillies are hoping they just signed. 

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