I had the opportunity of first meeting Brian Anderson during the 2018 Marlins FanFest. “Pleasure to meet the future at third base,” was how I ended my brief introduction. After all, at the time, Anderson was viewed solely as a third baseman.
He clearly knew something that I didn’t.
“I’m here to help out in whichever position I can,” Anderson said. “I just want to be on the field and build a winner.”
Since then, Anderson has split time between third base and right field, all while being penciled in as a middle-of-the-lineup bat. The then-24 year old may have not guessed this at the time, but less than two years later, he has become the clearest cornerstone for the Marlins to build around long term.
Anderson is already a star in the making, and it is time to extend him.
After a 2018 campaign that saw Anderson finish fourth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting, the Oklahoma native leads all Marlins full-time players in the following categories this season:
- bWAR (3.4)
- home runs (18)
- runs batted in (55)
- doubles (27)
- walks (39)
- slugging (.455)
- runs (49)
He is only behind Garrett Cooper in OPS and OPS+.
Defensively, Anderson has proven to be valuable at both third base (+9 DRS) and right field (+5 DRS). He is on pace to save runs at a rate that FanGraphs considers “Great to Gold Glove Caliber” quality. Yes, at both positions!
Why does any MLB team decide to extend players years prior to free agent eligibility? It’s a multi-variable equation combining performance, age and how the player compares to other internal options. In Anderson’s case, the move would also go a good country mile as a public relations move, reassuring fans who may have doubts about the new ownership’s finances and soothe those who’ve been scarred by the Marlins not locking up talented players in the past (or locking up players without the intention of actually keeping them).
If there were ever a candidate for the first extension of the Bruce Sherman era of Miami Marlins baseball, it is Brian Anderson. “The future at third”—or wherever they play him—deserves the security, and the Marlins should always be looking to retain top-tier talent as their rebuild progresses. Time to make it happen!
As shown below, posing this question to the Twitter audience has been met with a lot of agreement.
Should the Miami Marlins offer Brian Anderson an extension prior to next season? #JuntosMiami— Danny Martinez (@DannyM_MIA) August 8, 2019
However, there are also those who share fair reasoning in rationalizing the other side:
I think we shouldn’t rush spending money so soon. No point in extending him now when he’ll make base salary next year (Chen’s last yr). Perhaps the following year or the one after that. I don’t think he’s a 9 figures player either.— A. (@TheLionized) August 8, 2019
I could see the Marlins considering this once he gets into arbitration, buying out a year or two of free agency. It all depends what the MLB team looks like in 2021 and 2022, particularly the development of the prospects coming up.— David A. Rodriguez (@DavidARodrigue7) August 8, 2019
Disagree or agree?
If you agree, what do you believe the parameters of an extension should look like? Any precedents that come to mind in extending a player with the profile and performance of Brian Anderson? Let me know in the replies!