Was It A Mistake The Chicago White Sox Let Tim Anderson Walk?

He declined at the plate and could not field very well, but then again, he won a batting title.

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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Former Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson was putting up numbers and playing the game with flare that some thought he should be the face of baseball.

Now he is with Miami Marlins just trying to stay in the game of baseball.

The Sox declined his $14 million team option during the offseason. Anderson signed a one-year, 5 million-dollar deal just after the Marlins started their spring training camp. He just hit his first spring training home run although he is hitting .222.

Needless to say, there was not an active market for a shortstop who hit .245 with a 60 wRC+ and finished with a -0.5 fWAR in 2023. Then again, Anderson played most of last season with a nagging knee injury.

Now healthy, he could be primed for a bounce-back season which begs the question was it a mistake for the White Sox to let him walk?

We are talking about a two-time All-Star, the 2019 AL batting champion, and a Silver Slugger winner. Anderson also hit .309 in 2021. He hit 82 home runs from 2017-2021 typically at leadoff.

He smacked arguably one of the most famous home runs in team history.

Injuries and family issues plagued him during his final two seasons in Chicago. He was starting to wear out his welcome with some of the Southside faithful. Then he became a national embarrassment when he got into a brawl with Cleveland Guardians infielder Jose Ramirez. Ramirez ended up winning the fight by KO.

Plus, his defense was inconsistent at best. He could make some amazing defensive plays but then commit a baffling error on a routine play. He had -16 defensive runs saved last season.

The Sox wanted to get better defensively and that is one of the reasons Anderson has been replaced Paul DeJong.

DeJong is never going to hit like Anderson. Fangraphs projects his 2024 slash line will be .208/.277/.381 with 13 home runs and a wRC+ of 79. Anderson's 2024 slash line forecast is .281/.317/.381 with seven homers and a wRC+ of 89. DeJong is predicted to finish with a fWAR of 0.7 while Anderson is projected to finish with 1.3 fWAR.

DeJong will provide more pop and better defense than Anderson while only costing the Sox $1.75 million. A cheaper player who can improve a team's weakness in the field might have been worth it to move on from Anderson.

Then again, if Anderson can bounce back, his trade value at the deadline is going to be much higher. At $5 million, it might have been worth it for the White Sox to see if TA could rejuvenate himself. Plus, Anderson was an attraction. No one is paying to see DeJong field grounders and occasionally hit a home run.

However, DeJong might have better relations in the clubhouse than Anderson. The Sox wanted to improve a clubhouse that was rumored to be toxic with Anderson reportedly getting into an altercation with Yasmani Grandal.

We will have to track if better defense and a clubhouse culture were worth it to not bring back Anderson to see if he could rebuild his value. In that instance, he would not have been lost for nothing.

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