Image credit: Shaun Anderson (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire Via Getty)
A day after signing Alex Colome to help pitch the eighth and ninth innings, the Twins added a lower-leverage bullpen arm, picking up righthander Shaun Anderson from the Giants in exchange for outfielder LaMonte Wade. The move should affect both team’s MLB rosters, as Anderson slotted in as a useful member of the Giants pen, while Wade is a backup outfielder who can play all three outfield spots while showing above-average on-base skills.
Shaun Anderson, RHP
Anderson was the closer for Florida’s loaded 2016 team that also included Dane Dunning, A.J. Puk and Brady Singer. A year after the Red Sox picked him in the third round, they shipped him to the Giants in a trade that brought third baseman Eduardo Nunez to Boston. Anderson made his MLB debut in 2019, although that season he was marred by a finger blister. He earned a larger role in 2020, pitching in a mix of blowouts and close games where the Giants were trailing. Anderson’s performance didn’t match his larger role, as his struggles with control meant he rarely had a clean inning. His ERA (3.52) was much improved, but his FIP (5.73) was hurt by his 7 walks per nine innings.
Anderson does have the stuff to be a useful reliever in higher-leverage roles. He focused more on using his high-80s slider (used 53% of the time in 2020) and it proved very hard to hit. He uses it heavily against lefties as well as righties—it has downer movement and isn’t much easier for lefties to hit. He doesn’t waver from using it even when he falls behind in counts. But Anderson struggles to throw it for strikes, which is why he walked so many batters. The Twins emphasize using sliders as a predominant pitch for relievers who have useful sliders, an approach that did wonders for Matt Wisler last year. They will likely do the same with Anderson. Anderson’s mid-90s fastball, while having a high spin rate, leads to a lot of fly balls, which has gotten him in trouble in the majors. Anderson has two options remaining.
LaMonte Wade, OF
Wade had been expected to battle for a role as a backup outfielder with the Twins. Now he’ll be doing the same for the Giants. He has spent parts of the past two years with the Twins, showcasing his defensive versatility by playing all three outfield spots and first base. He’s above-average defensively at first, average in the corner outfield spots and playable, but fringy, in center. Wade has above-average speed, although his speed plays better over longer distances (first to third rather than home to first). What Wade does well is get on base. He’s always shown an excellent understanding of the strike zone and a willingness to work counts. Wade has a .389 career on-base percentage in the minors and has posted a .336 on-base percentage in the majors despite a much more dismal .211 batting average. So far, Wade hasn’t shown many other appealing offensive attributes. His MLB role is limited by his below-average power. He makes plenty of contact but his career high in home runs is 11 and he doesn’t hit a lot of doubles either. He’s not a slap hitter, and there remains some hope that even as a 27-year-old his selectivity may lead to a little more power. He’s a backup outfielder whose versatility, lefthanded bat and on-base skills make him a useful role player.