Grading Dave Dombrowski’s First Phillies Offseason: the Starting Rotation

May 11, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Chase Anderson (57) reacts on the mound as Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner (right) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the sixth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
May 11, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Chase Anderson (57) reacts on the mound as Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner (right) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the sixth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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When the Phillies hired Dave Dombrowski to be the President of Baseball Operations in December 2020, there were many questions about how Dombrowski was going to fill out the roster to finally start to turn the Phillies organization around.

Now that we are over two months into the season with over 65 games played, it’s time to evaluate the moves Dombrowski has made, starting with the starting rotation.

Phillies signed Chase Anderson

Dombrowski signed pitcher Chase Anderson, who’d previously pitched for the Diamondbacks, Brewers, and Blue Jays, and was coming off of a difficult season with Toronto, for $4M.

2020 had been the worst season of Anderson’s career by far; he posted a 7.22 ERA and a lackluster 6.16 FIP in ten games. For context, his previous career-worst was a 4.39 ERA over 31 games in 2016. Some of Anderson’s poor underlying stats include ranking in the 45th percentile in HardHit%, 56th percentile for average exit velocity, and 75th percentile for walk%.

To defend Dombrowski, Anderson’s overall career ERA and FIP of 3.94 and 4.54 are much better than the shortened 2020 season’s small sample size implies. His career includes a strong 2017 season in which he posted a 2.74 ERA and 3.58 FIP in 25 games. The Phillies weren’t expecting that level when they signed him but were hoping he could bring some stability in the back end of the rotation.

Unfortunately, Anderson is now having the worst season of his career: in eleven games, he has a new career-worst 7.34 ERA. His FIP has improved slightly from last season to 5.60, but he is only striking out 6.9 batters per 9 innings. Anderson would then be moved to the bullpen when Spencer Howard was called up to take his place in the rotation.

Frankly, Anderson was a waste of $4M, and the Phillies are regretting the decision every day. Luckily, he is only on a one-year deal, but losing your spot in the rotation not even 2 months into the season is unacceptable.

Bad move by Dave Dombrowski.

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