White Sox, Tim Anderson Talking Extension
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox are talking with shortstop Tim Anderson about a multiyear contract, a source confirmed to MLB.com. The White Sox declined comment on the matter.
Anderson, along with left-hander starter Carlos Rodon, appear to be two of Chicago’s few untouchables as part of its rebuild. Anderson, 23, hit .283 over 99 games and 410 at-bats in his 2016 rookie season. He had 37 extra-base hits, 10 stolen bases and played solid defense at shortstop.
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Chris Sale, Adam Eaton and Jose Quintana stand as previous examples of players the White Sox have extended contractually early on in their career as part of their core. Sale agreed to a five-year, $32.5 million extension with two options during Spring Training in 2013, only three years into his career and after one year as a starting pitcher.
Quintana’s deal came late in 2014 Spring Training, with the southpaw agreeing to a five-year, $21 million with two options. Quintana had spent parts of two seasons in the rotation at that point.
Eaton agreed to terms on a five-year, $23.5 million deal with two options during Spring Training ’15. He had played one full season for the White Sox at that point. Sale and Eaton were traded this past offseason as part of the team’s rebuild.
Awesome news for everyone involved. I’ll be the first to admit, I was always skeptical of how Anderson was going to mature as a baseball player as he advanced through the Sox system. Though he had great “tools”, it was easy as a fan to think that he was another player that fit the mold of athlete first, baseball player second draft pick that had bitten the organization in the ass over the years. Players like Josh Fields, Joe Borchard, Jared Mitchell, and so on and so forth had me worried that Anderson would wind up another .220/.280/.650 player. Not fair to Anderson, Hahn or anyone involved, we as fans were just conditioned to feel that way.
But, I am happy to say I was wrong. Though still young in baseball years, Anderson had flash after flash of greatness last year, especially defensively. His swing is as fundamentally sound as can be, his hands at short are great, and his ability to learn on the fly is uncanny. There are few things I love more than watching Tim Anderson sit on a fastball, snap his wrists through the zone, and turn on a pitch for a 440 foot dong piece. If he reaches his (very high) ceiling, he can potentially 25-30 home runs a few years on the South Side, and no, I’m not saying that’s going to happen. Just that the potential is there, and that’s not very common for a short stop. Especially one that can also steal 30 bags, hit .300 and play a fantastic defense as well. Pair that with Moncada’s potential and we’re looking at 50-60 home run potential (keyword) just in the middle infield alone. Yes, please.
Just look at how quick his hands are in the GIF below:
Yes, he still has a longggg way to go to reach his ceiling. But with this rebuild, the team is afforded patients with all of their young players. Anderson is very cerebral, and I now have no doubt he will settle in as a .290/.340/20/80ish hitter with 20 stolen bases and great MIF defense in the meat of the Sox order. Collins, Anderson, Moncada, and whatever grade A centerfield prospect the Sox net in the inevitable Quintana trade will make a fantastic up-the-middle for the Sox for years to come. Eventually I see Anderson hitting comfortably in the 6 or 7 hole and with those numbers, he’ll settle in great there.
Financially, I’m going to assume this deal is also going to be considered a team-friendly one similar to the Sale/Eaton/Rizzo deals. Basically what the Sox are doing is buying Anderson out of his 3 guaranteed years of contract arbitration and making him a rich man now, instead of waiting for him to get to arbitration which will start (don’t quote me on this) in the 2019 season. Win/win for everyone involved. Anderson is now controlled through the entire rebuild process, is rich, and the Sox have themselves a team friendly deal. Come age 29 or so Anderson can also potentially cash in on another huge free agent deal in his prime years. Hahn did it again! I’m assuming the deal will be around 6 years, 40ish million dollars with a couple of team options.
Speaking of the rebuild, we are much, much closer to the start of it than the end. This is one more piece to the puzzle. It’s going to be tough, but in the end it’ll be much worth it.