This was supposed to be the start of something great on the Southside.
The Chicago White Sox, led by their superstar shortstop Tim Anderson and a core of young talent, were destined to step out of the shadows cast by historic Wrigley Field and finally take the reins as the best ball club in Chicago. After consecutive trips to the postseason in 2020 and 2021, many believed that this team was finally gaining the playoff experience all young teams need before they finally reach their final form as World Series contenders.
Unfortunately for Anderson’s White Sox, they actually took a major step back in 2022. Injuries hampered this team all season as they limped to an 81-81 finish, missing the playoffs for the 11th time in 13 years. The team whose slogan “Change the Game” seemed to rally around its superstar shortstop and the new era of Chicago baseball suddenly resembled a group of players who didn’t really enjoy playing together.
Anderson’s attempt to address the failures of last season took an interesting turn during spring training, when he and Chicago White Sox reporter Chuck Garfein somehow ended up discussing the lack of support the team felt from the fans and media.
“There’s a lot of room to grow and just a lot of confusion, a lot of people pulling from different angles,” Anderson said. “Not just in the clubhouse, fans as well, a little bit of everybody. So the ultimate goal is to try to dominate and get it back on.”
Coming into this season, new manager Pedro Grifol has looked to revive the culture that led to those consecutive playoff berths just two years ago. After a hot start, Anderson found himself in a familiar place, the injured list. Without TA, this team has gone from mediocre to damn near unwatchable, going 1-9 in their last 10 games, and only collecting eight total wins so far this season.
This team has regressed even with the departure of Tony LaRussa, whose tenure was just as mediocre as everyone expected. Now, their proverbial “championship window” has slammed shut before it ever had an opportunity to truly open. No longer the best young team in the American League (which honestly, they never were), the White Sox aren’t even the best young team in the AL Central.
Those team friendly deals that the core signed? Suddenly they don’t look as promising as they did previously. Especially Anderson, who is currently under contract for two more seasons, the latter of which is a team option.
Now if you’re an avid MLBbro.com reader, then you probably think mentioning Anderson’s contract situation really shouldn’t matter here. He’s one of the best leadoff hitters in the game and the face of the franchise. Surely they are going to lock him in for the long term, right?
This is where things get tricky.
The White Sox have been so bad that the majority of their prospects’ trade value has plummeted. Whether it be injuries or simply underperforming, as it currently stands, the only pieces with enough value to return anything promising would be starting pitcher Dylan Cease and most certainly Anderson.
Another reason we could see TA in another uniform is something that White Sox fans know all too well–this franchise simply doesn’t spend money like the other big markets. Over the past two offseasons we’ve seen several shortstops get PAID. While Anderson and his representatives have certainly been monitoring those numbers being tossed around, for Sox fans that is certainly a terrible feeling.
The largest contract ever given out by the White Sox happened just last year when outfielder Andrew Benintendi signed a five-year, $75 million deal, a number that certainly won’t get things done in the eventual Tim Anderson sweepstakes. If White Sox leadership isn’t ready to hand over the first $100 million-plus deal in team history, then Chicago should do both Anderson and themselves a favor–trade him.