The Chicago White Sox are not dominating the American League Central Division as expected.
With a little more than a month and a half remaining, the White Sox start play August 19 in third place in the division. They trail the pesky and patient Cleveland Guardians by 2.5 games and the much improved Minnesota Twins by just 1 game.
The White Sox open an important three game weekend series at Cleveland August 19, which could help clarify the standings.
While every MLB team faces injuries, the White Sox have battled through consequential, disabling injuries to several key components of their 2022 roster. At times, they have played without offensive catalysts Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez and Yasmani Grandal.
Pitchers Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn, key components of the team’s rotation have missed multiple starts due to serious injuries.
Left-handed relievers Aaron Bummer and Garrett Crochet, each counted upon to provide quality depth to the team’s bullpen, have been, and are now sidelined with a lat injury and Tommy John surgery, respectively.
Perhaps, however, the most unkindest cut of all rests with the torn ligament on shortstop Tim Anderson’s left middle finger. He tore the ligament on a checked-swing. On August 11, Anderson had successful surgery to repair the tear.
It is expected that Anderson will be out for another five weeks, but there are no guarantees regarding that timetable.
Anderson’s offense is very tough to replace in a White Sox lineup that clearly has not performed to expectations.
About Tim Anderson:
The right-handed hitting Anderson turned 29 in June. An American League All Star the past two seasons, Anderson brings a very productive bat to the White Sox lineup.
A table-setter at, or near the top of manager Tony La Russa’s lineup, Anderson won the American League batting title in 2019, when he hit .335/357/.508/.865 in 518 plate appearances. Healthy and aggressive on both sides of the ball that season, Anderson hit 18 home runs and drove in 56 runs. He stole 17 bases in 22 attempts.
A true team leader, Anderson makes things happen. He is astute at taking a pitch where it is thrown, using the entire field, and being very capable of driving the ball to the gap in right center.
Always a threat to run, Anderson has stolen 13 bases this season, without being caught.
Enter Elvis Andrus:
Two-time All Star shortstop Elvis Andrus was released by the Oakland Athletics August 17.
The right-handed hitting Andrus will turn 34 August 28.
Andrus is playing in the last year of an 8-year, $120 contract. He has a vesting option for 2023.
It is widely reported the White Sox have signed Andrus as a shortstop replacement for Tim Anderson.
The White Sox have outrighted left-handed pitcher Yoan Aybar, which produces a 40-man roster spot for Andrus.
If, and when, the transaction is officially announced, Andrus will bring a career .270 batting average, covering 1904 gamers played and 8006 plate appearances in parts of 14 big league seasons. He has played parts of 12 of those seasons for the Texas Rangers, where he was their starting shortstop and an All Star for the Rangers in 2010 and 2012.
To be sure, Andrus wasn’t as impactful in parts of these last two seasons with Oakland as he was with the Texas Rangers. However, he is on the downside of a long and successful career, and the Athletics have not been as competitive as his Rangers clubs in his past.
While he continues to be a force at the plate, Tim Anderson was not having his best defensive season at shortstop. Prior to being placed on the Injured List in mid-August, Anderson had compiled 12 errors in 314 chances, many of them on poor throws. However, recently the errors became less frequent and he had regained his footing at shortstop.
Andrus had always been viewed as a very good defensive shortstop, with excellent range and a strong arm. He remains solid at the position, even if he has lost a step or two.
So far this season, Andrus has made nine errors in 385 chances. He still plays the position at a very credible major league level.
If he is signed with the White Sox, the team should be getting a good defensive glove for the middle of their infield.
On offense, Andrus played in 84 games for Oakland before being released. He hit .237/.301/.373/.673 with eight homers and 30 RBIs in 386 plate appearances. He stole seven bases in 11 attempts.
A good contact hitter, Andrus cannot replace the offensive firepower offered by Tim Anderson. He can, however, try to get on base and give his team quality at-bats. He is selective, knows the strike zone, and battles at the plate. He has struck out only 62 times so far. He has 30 walks to his credit.
Few teams have the depth to replace the stellar offense of an injured player such as the Chicago White Sox shortstop, Tim Anderson.
Anderson, an All Star caliber hitter, had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left middle finger in mid-August. He is scheduled to be sidelined another five weeks.
The White Sox have reportedly signed shortstop Elvis Andrus to their 40-man roster. As of this writing, Andrus’ signing has not been made official.
Even if his tenure is temporary, if he does sign with Chicago, the White Sox are getting a credible replacement defensive shortstop for Tim Anderson. However, Andrus, who will turn 34, is not as potent with the bat at this stage of his career.
The White Sox trail both the Cleveland Guardians and Minnesota Twins in the American League Central Division standings.
The pending addition of seasoned, veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus could become an important addition for the defending, and currently contending, American League Central Chicago White Sox.
Update: Since this article was first published, the Chicago White Sox have announced the signing of shortstop Elvis Andrus.