Yes, of course, it’s hard to lament the loss of a player coming off of the (tied for) third-worst season by a White Sox hitter in history (-2.0 WAR).
But the trimming of Tim Anderson from the White Sox roster — the White Sox on Saturday opted for a $1 million buyout rather than pay him $14 million next year — surely reveals the “compete in 2024” bumper sticker the White Sox have been putting out there for fans, in desperate hope of cracking 1 million in attendance next summer, was and remains a sham.
No doubt about it, Anderson suffered through an abysmal 2023, with off-field scandal compounded by an embarrassing tete-a-tete with José Ramírez that severely damaged his “tough guy” persona. The numbers tell an even uglier story, with Anderson slashing .245/.286/.296 with 18 doubles, one home run, 25 RBIs, 52 runs and 13 stolen bases in 123 games last season, his eighth with the White Sox. It adds up to a -2.0 WAR that is outdone in 124 years of White Sox history only by Adam Dunn (-2.9 WAR, 2011) and George Bell (-2.5, 1993). At 30, TA’s days could indeed be finished — not just as a headlining face of a franchise, but even as an MLB role player.
But 2023 only tarnishes the rushed finishing touch on Anderson’s White Sox career. His 16.2 career WAR ranks 39th all-time among franchise hitters, and ninth among its rich field of shortstops. Anderson finished seventh (criminally low) in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2016, and four years later finished seventh in MVP consideration. He won the Silver Slugger at shortstop that year, and chased his first award recognition with All-Star appearances in both 2021 and 2022. Anderson took home a batting title (.335) in 2019, and finished in the Top 5 in the AL from 2019-21.
The release of the 10-year White Sox, unfathomable heading into 2023, should be a wake-up call to the 30-year-old, two-time All Star. He’s faced adversity before, but always within the (presumed) womb of a White Sox team and front office that challenged, respected, and ultimately adored him.
Tim’s on his own, now. As the face of our podcast and the “spirit animal” of our site, we wish him only the best.