Phillies' division rival beefs up offense with late addition of All-Star Silver Slugger

The NL East rival Marlins add a low-risk, high-reward piece in Tim Anderson right before Grapefruit League games begin.

Chicago White Sox v Washington Nationals
Chicago White Sox v Washington Nationals / Jess Rapfogel/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies' spring training schedule is about to begin, and we're still waiting for the dust to settle on one of the slowest free agent markets in recent history. With premium names like Jordan Montgomery, Blake Snell, Cody Bellinger, and Matt Chapman still available at the right price, a number of unsigned second-tier players are still looking for contracts.

Tim Anderson is no longer one of those players. According to Jesse Rogers from ESPN, the 30-year-old former Chicago White Sox, a two-time All-Star and 2020 Silver Slugger, has signed with the rival Miami Marlins on a one-year, $5 million deal, pending a physical.

Anderson has had a rough go of it in recent seasons following a three-year stretch from 2019 to 2021, where he hit well above .300 and won the American League batting title in 2019 with a .335 batting average. Since being shut down with a finger injury in August of 2022, the once reliable shortstop has seen his offensive numbers fall off in a big way.

2023 was a season Anderson would rather forget. The former All-Star hit a disappointing .245 with one home run and 25 RBI in 123 games and 524 plate appearances. Unfortunately for Anderson, his biggest 2023 highlight came on Aug. 5 when he was knocked out with a punch thrown by Cleveland Guardians slugger José Ramirez.

The Miami Marlins are a team heading in the right direction

The addition of Tim Anderson is unlikely to be a major factor in influencing the Miami Marlins' hopes to return to the postseason in 2024. Still, it's a nice low-stakes deal that could pay off nicely if Anderson rebounds as an offensive player for his new team.

The Marlins have a solid infield that includes two-time batting champ Luis Arraez (2B), Jake Burger (3B), and Josh Bell (1B), in addition to the newly signed Anderson at shortstop. Although they lost Jorge Soler to the San Francisco Giants in free agency, the Marlins still have dynamic youngster Jazz Chisholm Jr., whose transition to the outfield last season was largely a success.

The Marlins' rotation and 2024 season will rely on the shoulders of starting pitcher Jesús Luzardo and uber-prospect Eury Pérez, with 2022 Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcántara on the shelf after Tommy John surgery last year.

The Marlins might not be ready to compete with the Phillies and Atlanta Braves to win the NL East yet, but as last year's Wild Card appearance against the Phillies has shown, the Marlins are a team that seems primed for a competitive window in the next few seasons.