The White Sox have told interested teams they have no plans to trade shortstop Tim Anderson this offseason, reports Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic. The 29-year-old will be back for an eighth season on Chicago’s south side.
It’d have been more surprising if the Sox were listening to offers on Anderson, who has emerged as a catalyst at the top of the lineup. He’s been selected to the All-Star Game in each of the past two seasons, and he finished seventh in AL MVP balloting during the abbreviated 2020 campaign. The righty-hitting infielder has hit above .300 four years running, posting above-average offensive marks overall.
Despite the second consecutive All-Star nomination, Anderson’s actually coming off a relative down season. He hit .301 but posted more pedestrian marks in on-base percentage (.339) and slugging (.395). His six home runs proved a career low, due in large part to a late-season injury that cut his year short. Anderson missed the season’s final couple months after suffering a tendon injury in his left middle finger, an issue that required surgery.
Still, there’s little question he’d have found significant appeal on the trade market. There’s no expectation the injury will affect him next season, and he’s playing on an eminently affordable contract. The Sox exercised a $12.5MM option on his services for 2023, and his contract also contains a $14MM club option for 2024. Barring injury or an unexpected down year, next year’s option should also be an easy call for the team to trigger.
Chicago had a disappointing season overall, finishing the 2022 campaign at 81-81 despite entering the season as AL Central favorites. They’re trying to rebound and make another run at the division, and it’s easy enough to understand why they wouldn’t subtract one of their top position players as part of that effort. At the same time, Chicago general manager Rick Hahn acknowledged at this week’s Winter Meetings the front office would have to be more open than they were previously to shaking up the roster after a down year (link via Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times). To that end, they’ve reportedly had some trade discussions about closer Liam Hendriks with other teams, although there’s no suggestion they’re actively shopping the All-Star righty.
Hahn has indicated on a few occasions the Sox are likelier to make any marquee additions via trade than free agency. James Fegan of the Athletic has previously reported they hope to open the season with a player payroll around $180MM. Roster Resource projects their payroll in the $179MM range at present, so the front office likely doesn’t have much breathing room at its disposal. Van Schouwen writes that the Sox are still seeking corner outfield and second base help, meaning they could potentially look to deal players on loftier salaries to free some spending room. Anderson apparently won’t be one of the players under consideration for such a deal though.
Teams seeking shortstop help but unwilling to pay top-of-the-market prices for Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts or Dansby Swanson are left with few alternatives. Elvis Andrus is the clear next-best shortstop available in free agency, while the trade market doesn’t have many obvious candidates. Amed Rosario and Isiah Kiner-Falefa are among the players who could theoretically be available, but neither has been firmly linked to any trade rumors this offseason. Meanwhile, Anderson and Milwaukee star Willy Adames seem as if they’ll stay put despite some early-offseason speculation they might be made available.