The White Sox are shutting down star shortstop Tim Anderson for the season, acting manager Miguel Cairo informed reporters (including Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times). Anderson hasn’t played since August 9, when he suffered a tendon injury in his left middle finger that required surgical repair.
Chicago had held out hope for the former batting champion to make it back as recently as last week, but the team’s ongoing free fall changed the equation. The Sox were within a game and a half in the AL Central race as recently as September 10, but they’ve gone 4-10 since that point to end any hope they had of a playoff berth. A sweep at the hands of the Guardians last week sewed up the division for Cleveland. The White Sox are still mathematically alive in the Wild Card race, but they could be officially eliminated as soon as tomorrow.
As they’re now playing out the string, there’s little incentive for the White Sox to push Anderson back onto the field. Veteran Elvis Andrus, who signed for the stretch run a couple days after being released by the A’s in mid-August, will finish the year as the shortstop. Andrus is headed for free agency at season’s end, and it seems likely he’ll depart in search of a clearer path to playing time elsewhere this winter.
Anderson finishes the season with a .301/.339/.395 line across 351 plate appearances. That’s still above-average production, but it was the two-time All-Star’s least valuable campaign since 2018. After some offensive inconsistency early in his career, Anderson broke out as one of the game’s top shortstops with a .335/.357/.508 showing in 2019. He’s remained at that level the past few years, consistently hitting above .300 while rating as a solid defender and high-end baserunner.
The 2022 campaign is the final guaranteed year on the contract extension Anderson inked back in 2017. The Sox can keep him around for another two seasons via eminently affordable club options, though. They’re certain to bring him back for $12.5MM next year in lieu of a $1MM buyout, and they hold a $14MM option on his services for 2024.