By Connor McKnight, WLS-AM 890 Sports
(CHICAGO) Reports Tuesday morning indicated that the White Sox will sign shortstop Tim Anderson to a six-year deal worth approximately $25 million. The deal would have two option years tacked on to the end and would potential keep Anderson on the Southside until his age-31 season. Further, if the financials are as reported, the deal would be the largest contract in MLB history for a player with less than one-year of service time.
The conversation between the two sides was initially reported by MLB.com. The length of the deal was reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports while the financials were reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Anderson, 23, hit .283/.306/.432 with nine home runs in 140 at-bats during his first season at the MLB level. His defense, which had been questioned by scouts during his rise through the minor leagues, largely impressed during the 2016 season. Certainly there were errors (14 of them) but, for the most part, they were rookie mistakes the Sox hope they can iron out with coaching and repetition. Anderson’s range at short, overall speed, and strong accurate arm seem more than enough to fit the profile at the toughest position on the field.
The deal may stand as an important marker in the White Sox rebuild. While the White Sox were able to recoup a tremendous value in prospects from Chris Sale and Adam Eaton (themselves signed to early, long-term extensions by the team) identifying the next core is crucial.
The hope is that Anderson develops a bit more patience at the plate (MLB Network’s CJ Nitkowski noted that Anderson was just the 13th player in MLB history to strikeout more than 100 times and walk less than 15 times in his first 400 ABs) and keeps the speed and power he’s shown when he does connect. Contact issues aside, Anderson logged multi-hit efforts in exactly one-third of his games (33 in 99 games played) and, with his speed, is always a threat to take the extra bag.
Anderson’s spring has been a productive one, as well, and has drawn rave reviews from coaches and scouts alike. Clearly, the White Sox believe they’ve found the next member of their young core.
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