The best acquisitions of 2019: Travis d’Arnaud and Nick Anderson
Both Travis d’Arnaud and Nick Anderson proved to be the biggest acquisitions of the 2019 season.
The Tampa Bay Rays may have pulled off the biggest steal of the year when they paid the Dodgers $100,000 for Travis d’Arnaud. They had to pay a bit more though for Nick Anderson who finished his rookie year as one of the most dominating relievers in the game.
Under the radar move: Travis d’Arnaud for cash
At the time of the move, the Rays were simply looking for anyone to fill in behind the dish due to a handful of injuries. By the end of the year, Travis d’Arnaud had become one of the best hitters in the Rays lineup and had earned the starting job.
2019 Numbers ( with Rays):
- 92 G
- .263/.323/.459 // .782 OPS // 107 OPS+
- 16 HR // 67 RBI
- 1.6 fWAR
As he found his stride at the plate after returning this spring from Tommy John surgery, d’Arnaud would finish the season as one of the most productive Rays hitters. Not only was he productive, but the former Met was also about as clutch as they get coming through in a handful of big games for the Rays.
His arrival in Tampa Bay provided the Rays with the stability behind the dish that they expected yet failed to receive from Mike Zunino.
Best move: Nick Anderson and Trevor Richards for Ryne Stanek and Jesus Sanchez
To pry Anderson away from the Marlins, the Rays had to part ways with Ryne Stanek, aka “The Opener”, and highly touted prospect Jesus Sanchez. But, by the end of the year it was clear that the price they paid was well worth it.
2019 Numbers (with Rays):
21.2 IP // 2.11 ERA // 1.62 FIP // 214 ERA+
- 41 K // 2 BB
- 5 ER // 12 hits
Anderson quickly became the Rays’ highest leverage, late inning reliever. Emilio Pagan remained the closer but Anderson was Kevin Cash’s go-to reliever when he needed a strikeout. Anderson, utilizing his upper 90s fastball, was a strikeout machine striking out 110 batters in only 65 innings of work between the Marlins and Rays.
A 29-year-old rookie in 2019, Anderson figures to be a big part of the Rays bullpen plans going forward as he is under team control through the 2024 season.