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another_perspective_on_garret_anderson_1 | February | 2009 Articles

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JD Stuart: Another Perspective on Garret Anderson

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A guest post by JD Stuart. He's maybe not quite as down on Garret as I am.

The Braves yesterday agreed to terms with free agent Garret Anderson, who, by my estimation, was about the fourth-most-desirable affordable, past-his-prime left fielder on the market this offseason.  (I rate him behind Bobby Abreu, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Jim Edmonds...but ahead of Luis Gonzalez!)  In that context, it's not a very exciting signing; in fact, it's downright anticlimactic.
That said, he's definitely an improvement--although, considering our other options, that's damning with faint praise if I've ever seen it--and at $2.5 million for one year, there isn't a lot of risk here.
Anderson, who'll turn 37 around the season's midpoint, is a good hitter, but he's not much of a walker or a slugger, so his offensive value is pretty limited and subject to disappear completely if/when his ability to hit for average fades.  His career line of .293/.327/.469 is quite pedestrian, but it's been holding steady for several years now and, you know, major-league pedestrian is better than double-A league-average.  He hits righties better than lefties (.815 versus .751 in terms of OPS), but his splits aren't as drastic as most guys'.  If he's platooned in left with Diaz, we should get at least league-average production (with some upside) from the position.  The real concern is that Anderson's All-Star reputation, coupled with the absence of a severe platoon split, will confuse Bobby into making him the everyday left fielder; that would not be good unless it means Diaz has been given the everyday right fielder's job.  Yeah, right.
Defensively, the metrics indicate he's average or a little below, although he's only been playing half his games in the field in recent years--the other half have been as the DH in the OC--and he throws like a girl.  He's been fairly durable, but the fact that he's had the DH to fall back on previously does make his overall ability to consistently stay in the lineup at age 37 something of an unknown.
Anyway, Anderson's nothing special, but I think he can help the team if Bobby uses him properly.  Not a very sexy signing, but it's solid.

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