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Should I Stay or Should I Go: Tim Anderson

Nice options on a defective Ferrari

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox
Whether a promising player for 2023 or not, the White Sox don’t have much choice but to try riding Tim Anderson into the playoffs.
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

fWAR: 2.0
bWAR: 1.3
WARP: 1.6

He should stay The high-octane shortstop turned in another high-BABIP campaign and batting average better than .300. He stole 13 bases without being caught once, and continued to be one of the better baserunners in the league on a team that struggled in that department. Anderson improved his contact at the plate with and had a career-low strikeout rate. In a season of struggles, TA still produced at a rate of a 2.5-4.0 WAR player for a full season, and his pre-injury production was closer to a 6-7 WAR player. That’s a bargain for a $12.5 million team option, especially considering his $1 million buyout. Also, Anderson has raked in his two (brief) postseasons, so there’s another gear from him when the stakes are highest.

He should go From 2019-21, Anderson produced an impressive 11.6 fWAR, but also missed almost a quarter of each season. In 2022, he missed more than half of the season, and was clearly physically compromised in a significant chunk of the time he actually played. Just as his glove at shortstop is unreliable, Anderson is just not reliable as an everyday player, and the scramble to replace him in the lineup has forced the White Sox to press many bad options into service far too often. In what will be his age-30 season, Anderson is not a safe bet to improve on his track record as a glass cannon.

The verdict Timmy may not be a great option, all things considered. But at this juncture, he’s really the only option. The White Sox have several internal options at shortstop (Yolbert Sánchez, Romy González, Danny Mendick, José Rodríguez, Leury García, Lenyn Sosa), but they all are unprepared, have limited ceilings, or are horrifyingly unqualified to be an everyday player. Given the premium free agents at shortstop (don’t bother dreaming on Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, or even Dansby Swanson), the White Sox are not going to find the production potential of Tim Anderson at his price, much less have an option for another year (at $14 million in 2024, with another $1 million buyout). And don’t expect much out of trades from a team that maxed out at the Jake Diekman tier at last deadline. The White Sox can’t pay for premium production, so they have to gamble that Tim can deliver the goods.