My goal for Cubs Insider was always for us to bring you serious Cubs commentary without taking ourselves too seriously. Since you’re here reading this, you must dig what we’re doing to some extent. As such, I think you’ll end up liking former Dodger Brett Anderson a great deal.
“I’m kind of a sarcastic ass on Twitter,” the burly, ginger-bearded southpaw explained to the media at Sloan Park on Monday. “I kind of sit back and observe. I’m not a huge talker in person. But I can kind of show some of my personality and candor on some of those things.”
This is basically me, except that I have a tendency to flap my gums when I’m comfortable in a given situation. I also lack a red rug on my face and can’t throw a baseball very well with my left hand. In general, though, I can dig what Anderson is saying here. And I love the candor he displayed when talking about his somewhat infamous social media activity.
I mean, the man (sort of) announced his intentions to sign with the Cubs on Twitter.
Wheels up to Chicago…I bet it's cold there.
— Brett Anderson (@_BAnderson30_) January 23, 2017
But the thing about being active on in a public forum, especially when you’re a noted smartass, is that you have to be conscious of what you’re saying about whom.
“I’m like, ‘Wow, man, did I say anything about anybody that’s going to piss them off?’ Anderson offered. “But I think the only thing I said about the players is that Kyle [Hendricks] looks like he could have some Oreos and milk after pitching in the World Series.”
That same paucity of harsh words doesn’t really hold true for his new fans, who he referred to as ‘effing idiots’ (except not in such PG terms) in a tweet that followed his former team’s loss in Game 6 of the NLDS last season. He downplayed the criticism Monday, and he made a lot of sense doing it.
“You have your bad seeds in every fan base. When people are rowdy and cheering on their team and have one too many beers, the next thing you know, you’re throwing them.
“That just happened to be a situation. But you like those people on your side. I played in Oakland, and they had some of the rowdiest fans. In the playoffs, it seemed like ‘The Black Hole’ for the Raiders games.
“Just visiting, it’s a fun crowd, because it’s such an intimate setting and you feel like they’re right on top of you and it’s so loud.”
While he’s going to be disappointed if he’s expecting a bunch of belligerent people in facepaint and retrofitted Halloween getups, it sounds like Anderson will fit just fine in the clubhouse and with Wrigley’s non-beer-throwing denizens. But the real issue isn’t about staying in anyone’s good graces, it’s about staying on the active roster.
He’s only pitched more than 112 innings three times since 2009 and, though he managed a career-high 180.1 frames in 2015, has logged a combined 134.1 in the four other seasons since 2012 (33.2 innings/season). The maladies keeping Anderson off the mound have been myriad: Tommy John surgery, a broken finger, a stress fracture in his foot, and a bulging disc in his lower back that required surgery.
If he can manage to stay healthy, he’s a serious candidate for the rotation spot that currently has Mike Montgomery’s name penciled in. A vast majority of Anderson’s appearances (115 of 127) have come as a starter, so he’s got the pedigree. And while many may not share my assessment, I am of the belief that Montgomery is better suited for the bullpen.
For what it’s worth, Monty has said he’s good with whatever role the Cubs have for him. And it’s entirely possible that both lefties transition back and forth in sort of a timeshare at the back end of the rotation.
Regardless of how he’s utilized, Anderson is one of those characters people are going to love having around. He’s a quiet, cerebral dude with a quick wit, and I think he’s gonna be a hell of a lot of fun to follow this season.