White Sox

Tim Anderson, White Sox reach agreement on contract extension

Tim Anderson, White Sox reach agreement on contract extension

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox are so confident in Tim Anderson they've given him the largest contract ever for a player with less than one year of service time.

Designated a key cog in the club's rebuild, the second-year shortstop could remain with the White Sox through 2024 after he signed a contract extension on Tuesday that guarantees him $25 million over six seasons. The deal for Anderson, who was worth 2.8 Wins Above Replacement in 2016, according to baseball-reference.com, could total $50.5 million as it includes club options for 2023 and 2024 that total $26.5 million with a $1 million buyout.

"I'm in a place where I want to be," Anderson said. "I'm happy here. I love Chicago, especially the South Side.

"I made a commitment to be here, and I love being here."

The 17th overall pick of the 2013 draft, Anderson concluded a quick rise through the White Sox farm system when he debuted on June 10 last season. Despite his limited overall experience, Anderson — who was recruited more for basketball before he was drafted out of East Central Community College — had starred at every level along the way and convinced the White Sox he was ready to take over in the majors.

He didn't disappoint, either.

Anderson doubled to left field off Kansas City's Ian Kennedy in his first plate appearance and never slowed down. He hit .283/.306/.432 with nine home runs, 30 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 431 plate appearances.

Anderson also exceeded expectations defensively. Depending on which scout you talked to, Anderson had questions to answer about his glove. But he not only showed quickness and extensive range, Anderson boasted a strong arm and good hands. He produced six Defensive Runs Saved and a 6.3 Ultimate Zone Rating, according to fangraphs.com.

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"We're obviously thrilled," general manager Rick Hahn said. "We think there's a lot of good things to come as he continues to grow as a big league player. We certainly feel he will play a very important role on this team over most of the next decade. We're happy to have him under control for the next eight seasons."

Anderson — who wouldn't have been arbitration eligible until at least 2020 — has been so good that Hahn nearly placed him on the untouchable list this offseason. Having dealt Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, Hahn said he'd discuss deals any of his players but also suggested that Anderson and pitcher Carlos Rodon weren't available.

Anderson is set to earn $850,000 this season. He'll make $1 million in 2018, $1.4 million in 2019 and gets a bump to $4 million in 2020. In the fifth year of his deal, Anderson will make $7.25 million, and he'll receive $9.5 million in 2022. The contact includes club options for $12.5 million in 2023 and $14 million in 2024 with a $1 million buyout.

It's the fifth time in four years that the White Sox have locked a young player up to a team-friendly deal. The team extended Sale in 2013, Jose Quintana in 2014 and Eaton in 2015. All those contracts were signed in spring training. The White Sox also extended Nate Jones in December 2015.

While the contracts afforded each player financial security at a young age, it also made them far more enticing to other teams when the White Sox began their rebuild in December. The trades of Sale and Eaton have stocked the White Sox farm system with more young talent than it has had since the turn of the century. With potentially four years left on his deal, Quintana continues to draw heavy interest on the trade market and it's believed a return package for the 2016 All-Star pitcher would nearly equal the gargantuan packages the White Sox got for Sale and Eaton.

"It was certainly a benefit when it came time to trade them," Hahn said. "The size of the return we got was influenced by the size of the contracts we were under and the added control that came with them. We stand here today and fully intend for Tim to be here and be part of that next championship core. We've obviously still got work to do in putting that together."

Anderson returned to the lineup on Wednesday night after a three-day absence which he attributed to experiencing personal problems on Monday. The team held him out of action for the final two days as the deal was finalized.

Anderson, who said he was glad to return to action, had an RBI triple in the first inning of a game against the Texas Rangers at Surprise, Ariz.

"It's a blessing to be able to get it done," Anderson said. "Now I can go out and play and have fun. It's been a hectic few days. We know we were able to agree on something, and now it's just about having fun now."

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson turned 24 on Saturday and celebrated the occasion with a bang.

Anderson smashed a three-run home run in the first inning against the A's. It was actually his first swing on his birthday. Anderson took the first two pitches before launching the 1-1 pitch over the right field fence.

That home run, Anderson's 13th of the year, gave the White Sox a 5-0 lead. Things took an ugly turn later in the game with Oakland winning 7-6. Dylan Covey left in the fifth with a hip injury, which manager Rick Renteria said will be evaluated tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury.

Anderson finished 2-for-4 on his birthday. He later added a single, a stolen base and a run in the sixth inning.

Anderon's power surge this year has him on pace to blow past his 17 homers from a year ago. He is four shy of last year's total and has done so in just under half as many plate appearances.

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

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USA TODAY

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.