Multiple outlets are reporting that the Braves have signed Garret Anderson. I'm holding out for a Furcal-Griffey scenario here, but it's hard to imagine there's someone so desperate to sign him that they'll swoop in with an offer that will blow away Atlanta's $2.5 million contract.
This signing is less bad than it is dispiriting. It's possible to squint really, really hard and see a scenario where this kind of works. Anderson hit .293/.323/.450 against righties last year, and Matt Diaz is .326/.361/.508 for his career against lefties. So maybe, in theory, this could work.
But you have to try awfully hard to reach that "maybe." It's still disappointing, and not just because MLB.com's Mark Bowman (who's usually a reliable mouthpiece for the organization) says Anderson might not have to be platooned. (Bobby Cox is quoted as saying Anderson can hit righties and lefties)
Signing a 36-year-old (37 in June) Garret Anderson is just the kind of dull, uncreative move that dull, uncreative organizations resort to every season. Is it fair to criticize Frank Wren for making a move like that? Maybe not. After all, Major League Baseball doesn't hand out extra wins for nifty, complicated transactions. The Braves' outfield...well, lets face it: it sucked last year. The best line (.289/.340/.418) belonged to Mark Kotsay, and he's not going to be playing for the Braves in 2009. So Anderson's .293/.325/.433 production is almost close to being nearly respectable.
The problems come when you start asking whether you can expect him to put up even that uninspired line next season. Anderson's not a dynamic defensive player or baserunner any more, so all he's got is his bat. And while I'm always wary of signing 36-year-old corner outfielders, I'm especially concerned when the corner outfielder isn't particularly good. Greatness can fall off the clip at any moment, it's true, but mediocrity is equally celeritous, and the rocks are even sharper at the bottom.
The Braves had legitimate shots at Pat Burrell, Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu, and were rumored to be in on Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher. So falling back to Garret Anderson...it's bothersome.