The Red Sox have talked about signing free agent third baseman/outfielder Brian Anderson, according to Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam.
Anderson, 29, was non-tendered by the Marlins last month after batting just .222/.311/.346 with 16 doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 28 RBIs, 43 runs scored, one stolen base, 37 walks, and 101 strikeouts over 98 games (383 plate appearances) this past season. The right-handed hitter was projected to earn $5.2 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility, but he instead hit the open market earlier than anticipated.
A former third-round draft selection out of the University of Arkansas in 2014, Anderson was a top prospect within Miami’s farm system prior to making his major-league debut in September 2017. He finished fourth in National League Rookie of the Year voting during his first full season as a big-leaguer in 2018 and then hit a career-high 20 home runs while posting an .811 OPS the following year.
Anderson appeared in 59 of the Marlins’ 60 games in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign but has since been dogged by different injuries. Last season, he was limited to just 67 games due to a left oblique strain and left shoulder subluxation. This year, Anderson missed time with lower back spasms and a left shoulder sprain.
Defensively, the majority of Anderson’s playing time over the last six seasons has come at either third base or right field. In 2022, the 6-foot-3, 208-pounder graded posted negative-four defensive runs saved and negative-two outs above average across 371 innings at the hot corner as well as one defensive run saved and negative-three outs above average across 307 1/3 innings in right. He also ranked in the 99th percentile of the league in arm strength by averaging 95.9 mph on his throws, per Baseball Savant.
Anderson, who turns 30 in May, represents another potential buy-low candidate for the Red Sox who can play multiple positions. The CAA Sports Client is presumably looking to up his value before hitting the open market again next winter, and Boston could provide him with that opportunity by signing him to a one-year contract.
With the Red Sox reportedly open to trading Bobby Dalbec, Anderson would make sense as a right-handed bat who could come off the bench and complement Rafael Devers at third base. He could also spell the left-handed hitting duo of Alex Verdugo and Masataka Yoshida when needed as well.
(Picture of Brian Anderson: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)