Heading into the offseason, the expectation was the Los Angeles Dodgers would at the very least be in the mix for Jon Lester, Max Scherzer or James Shields. The Dodgers’ deep pockets and desire to win now had them viewed as a significant threat to bolster their starting rotation by adding any one of the three free agents.
However, as the offseason unfolded, it became evident the Dodgers wouldn’t spend big for one starter and they instead added multiple pitchers at a lesser cost. Mike Bolsinger and Juan Nicasio were acquired via trades in November, and the following month Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy signed with the Dodgers.
With the offseason in its final days, ESPN’s Jayson Stark conducted a poll to survey executives on several topics. Among them was the worst free-agent signings, which Anderson and McCarthy unceremoniously received votes in:
Max Scherzer (Nationals) — 15
Brett Anderson (Dodgers) — 10
Hanley Ramirez (Red Sox) — 9
Michael Cuddyer (Mets) — 8
Nick Markakis (Braves) — 6
Billy Butler (A’s) — 5
Brandon McCarthy (Dodgers) — 5
McCarthy struggled last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but found success after getting traded to the New York Yankees. During his time with the Yankees, he went 7-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Overall, McCarthy finished 2014 10-15 with a 4.05 ERA.
Based on production and McCarthy’s injury history, the four-year, $48 million contract the Dodgers signed the 31 year old to appears to be a risk, but it does include protection in the event he spends a considerable amount of time on the disabled list.
Moreover, with a new training regimen, McCarthy is confident he’ll stay healthy and Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said signing the right-hander was a long-term solution. As for Anderson, his one-year deal is less obstructive in the event he is unable to remain healthy, which has been an issue throughout his career.
While Anderson hasn’t started more than 19 games since 2010, his second season in the Majors, he believes his misfortune has been a case of bad luck. Although the voters in ESPN’s poll aren’t high on the Anderson and McCarthy signings, if both pitchers can remain healthy the backend of the Dodgers’ rotation will be in better shape than it was last season.
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