Tuesday, September 27, 2022

How The White Sox Should Handle Tim Anderson’s Return

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The Chicago White Sox announced on Tuesday morning that Tim Anderson had been cleared for baseball activity. Anderson tore the sagittal band on his middle figure during a check swing against the Texas Rangers. He underwent surgery on August 11th and has not swung a bat since.



“The most important part of that is once he starts swinging,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn told reporters via Zoom. “In terms of a likely return date, we don’t have that in place yet.

The White Sox have been firing on all cylinders recently. They have won seven of their last ten and are in hot pursuit of the Cleveland Guardians for first place in the American League Central division. Getting their All-Star shortstop back into the lineup should provide the lineup with a boost.

However, some fans are not ready to see Elvis Andrus give up his spot. The White Sox signed Andrus to fill in during Anderson’s absence. They expected an upgrade on defense and some veteran leadership. What they did not expect was the 14-year veteran to turn into an offensive force upon joining his new team.

Andrus has been locked in at the plate. In his last 15 games, he is batting .349 with 16 RBIs, five home runs, and a .667 slugging percentage. Since joining the White Sox, he has raised his batting average by 15 points. His defense has been stellar while simultaneously displaying a high baseball IQ on a nightly basis.

But people tend to take Tim Anderson’s greatness for granted. He was batting over .300 before getting injured despite having a “down year.” He is a two-time All-Star that took home the AL batting title in 2019, is the first White Sox player to bat over .300 in three straight seasons, won the Silver Slugger Award in 2020, and has a .485 batting average in the postseason.

Simply put, he has been the catalyst of the offense for three straight seasons. The problem is that Anderson has never played any position other than shortstop during his illustrious career in the big leagues. Neither has Elvis Andrus. Anderson has earned his starting spot with his track record. He is also clearly the White Sox’s long-term solution at shortstop.

But that doesn’t mean the two can’t coexist on the same team. Andrus just wants to win. After spending the previous two seasons wallowing in Oakland, he is just happy to be with a contender.

He has shown this by proving he is a team player. Players and coaches alike have raved about his presence in the clubhouse. If that means learning how to play second base, then he is up for the challenge.

“I play a lot with all the shifting,” Andrus said. “I’ve been playing a lot of second. I’ve made like five double plays from second base. So yeah, I’ll be down for whatever he thinks I can do to help the team to win. I’m down to go out there and do my job.”

Moving Andrus to second base makes more sense than moving Anderson. Between the two of them Andrus is a better defender. It would likely be an easier transition for him. Even if Andrus struggles to adjust at second base, having him off the bench provides the White Sox with a great option late in games. They still have Josh Harrison, that can cover second, while Andrus can be a defensive replacement for Anderson late in games.

If Anderson’s finger is bothering after he returns, then Andrus also provides the White Sox some extra insurance. Andrus has carved out a role on the White Sox. What that role is remains to be seen.

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razor
razor
Sep 15, 2022 3:17 pm

it’s a no brainer to have him play second… harrison is terrible defensively, and light hitting…

Ralph Law
Ralph Law
Sep 14, 2022 12:16 pm

First of all the Sox are trailing Cleveland by three games. That’s a lot when you’re unable to show up in a 10-3 loss to a minor league lineup vs. Oakland.

Good point that the Sox need both bats. Perhaps. they could teach Andrus the 2B position for next season.

What the Sox do not need is: A man with early signs of dementia managing the team.

Randy
Randy
Sep 14, 2022 7:58 am

I wonder if Anrus can play Third. Moncada has been a major disappointment this year.

chisoxhawk
chisoxhawk
Sep 14, 2022 5:47 am

SORRY, Tim is not the 1st Sox player to hit .300 in 3 consecutive season…verify before writing.

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