When considering the 2009 season of Garret Anderson, I think it's more useful to look at the alternatives to Anderson that the Braves were considering, or at least rumored to be considering.
|2009 - Garret Anderson||135||496||52||133||27||0||13||61||27||73||1||0||.268||.303||.401|
|2009 - Ryan Ludwick||139||486||63||129||20||1||22||97||41||106||4||2||.265||.329||.447|
|2009 - Rick Ankiel||122||372||50||86||21||2||11||38||26||99||4||3||.231||.285||.387|
|2009 - Ken Griffey Jr.||117||387||44||83||19||0||19||57||63||80||0||0||.214||.324||.411|
Just about the only improvement over Anderson on this list is Ryan Ludwick, who we were rumored to be trying to get in exchange for Kelly Johnson, but the Cardinals wanted Rafael Soriano. I would have preferred Ludwick, but that's been said numerous times. While he would have represented a significant increase in homerun hitting power, he would likely not have been the perfect long-term answer in left field.
Still, Ludwick would have been an improvement over Anderson. Let's harp on Garret for a while. His on-base percentage, a Francoeur-ian .303 number, was 6th-worst among qualified National League batters, and even worse than the .309 number that Jeff Francoeur himself put up. The numbers that Anderson put up across the board -- .268/.303/.401 -- were all the worst of his career -- which he is pretty clearly at the end of. Is it even worth bringing up how bad he was in the field?
Would we have been any better with Ankiel or Griffey? Probably not. I don't know if that underscores how rare premier hitters are to find and acquire, or how quickly major league clubs will settle for mediocre veterans. Here is one more name to consider:
|2009 - Andruw Jones||82||281||43||60||18||0||17||43||45||72||5||1||.214||.323||.459|
Better power, better patience, but not a better average. Still, Andruw Jones would have been better in left field than Garret Anderson -- that's pretty sad on multiple levels.
Pretty much all of Braves nation is looking forward to a major upgrade in left field next season. Settling for Anderson was one of the big failures of last off-season, and hopefully one that the Braves don't repeat again. I honestly can't remember the last player who spent an entire season on our roster in a starting role who was so maligned by fans and writers alike -- maybe Robert Fick.