White Sox

'Daddy strength' or a new man at the plate? 'That's the Tim Anderson people have been waiting to see'

'Daddy strength' or a new man at the plate? 'That's the Tim Anderson people have been waiting to see'

Maybe this is all just a particularly effective bout of "daddy strength," as Rick Renteria called it.

Tim Anderson is indeed a new papa, fresh off the birth of his daughter, Paxton. But he's also looking like a new man at the plate, batting .500 just seven games into the 2019 season.

Unless baseball history is in the making, that number will come down as the campaign chugs along. But in the meantime, Anderson is hitting in a way that backs up his confident talk from the offseason, when he declared that even though he would have been happy to play alongside perennial All-Star infielder Manny Machado, "shortstop is mine."

No one's suggesting that Anderson has reached the point where he's a better player than the mighty accomplished Machado. But after getting the work he put in to transform his defense in 2018, he's getting the results at the plate in the early going this season.

"I feel real good. Been working during the offseason and spring training. It's showing a little bit. I feel real comfortable," Anderson said after Saturday's 9-2 loss to the visiting Seattle Mariners. "I feel like I'm learning and understanding the game a lot more. I feel like it's slowing down for me, a lot more. And I'm getting it."

Anderson homered late in Saturday's game, his second homer in as many days and his second homer since welcoming Paxton into the world. It was a three-hit afternoon on the South Side for Anderson, the second consecutive one of those, too. He's hit safely in all five games he's played in, and three of those have been multi-hit efforts. And for a guy who struck out a combined 428 times over his first three major league seasons, having just two of them through five games in 2019 ain't half bad, either.

"He's made some good adjustments from last year," starting pitcher Lucas Giolito said of Anderson, "and yeah he's seeing pitches well, squaring balls up. Two homers the last two days. That's the Tim Anderson people have been waiting to see. He's really showing that."

It's perhaps not enough to make fans forget that the team wasn't able to land Machado this winter, but combine Anderson's successes with those of new third baseman Yoan Moncada (who went hitless for the first time in 2019 with an 0-for-5 line Saturday) and you've got the two brightest spots on the White Sox roster coming from the left side of the infield, where Machado would have played.

It's an additional positive that those two guys are long-term pieces of the White Sox ongoing rebuilding effort. General manager Rick Hahn said Friday before the home opener that who powers the team during the 2019 season will be perhaps more important than how many wins it ends up with. Meaning that positive performances from Anderson and Moncada and other long-term pieces will be a very good thing for the present and future of this franchise.

"Is (a positive win-loss record) because Moncada took that step forward," Hahn said, "and Eloy (Jimenez) made an impact, and Giolito and (Reynaldo) Lopez and Tim Anderson and (Carlos) Rodon and whoever else comes up this year help guide us to that victory total based on their performance and their development? Or is it more on the backs of veteran-type guys: Ivan Nova and (Welington) Castillo and older players doing their job and doing a nice job and as a result we won more than we did?

"Those two paths put us in a very different position at the end of the 2019 season. Ideally it's contributions from everybody, young and old, we win more than we lose and it's a great summer and it's also one that puts us in a position, entering 2020, feeling very good about how this young core is coming together and what we're capable of doing over the next couple of seasons."

It's only a handful of games, but the questions that popped up during the offseason and entering this season about what kind of long-term impact Anderson and Moncada could make are being answered, to a degree, in the early going.

Anderson seemed a little irked that fans and observers were so easily willing to hand his job to Machado. "I came too far for these fans to kind of just want me to give it to Machado," he said in January. Now, he's looking to prove them they were wrong, that maybe they should have put up more of a fight.

"I've been proving people wrong for a while," Anderson said Saturday. "I'll keep trying to do that and keep being me."

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Tim Anderson calls out MLB commish Rob Manfred with 2020 season up in the air

Tim Anderson calls out MLB commish Rob Manfred with 2020 season up in the air

Will there be baseball in 2020? It's a question that's still without an answer.

And folks are getting restless.

As mad as baseball fans might be over hearing the latest from the negotiations between Major League Baseball and the players' union, the guys sitting at home waiting to hear when they'll go back to work are irritated, too.

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson vented Wednesday, following word that the league had rejected the players' latest proposal for a shortened season, taking aim at commissioner Rob Manfred on Twitter.

RELATED: MLB rejects players' 114-game proposal, making 50-game season look possible

As team owners continue to insist they'd be unable to pay players the full prorated salaries they agreed to in March, the players are adamant they haven't yet seen enough economic proof of that claim to warrant agreeing to another pay cut.

In the absence of an agreement with the players' union, the league could take the step of implementing a season of roughly 50 games, preventing players from earning more money on a per-game basis and robbing fans of a whole lot of baseball.

Even with some players expressing concerns over playing during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many have stated how eager they are to get back to work.

While simultaneously saying that it's been tough to think about baseball during the nationwide protests over the police killings of Black people in the wake of George Floyd's murder in Minnesota, Anderson said Monday that he is itching to get back on the field.

"I think this problem is bigger than baseball at the moment," he said. "But can’t wait to get back out there when the time is right."

We'll have to wait and see if and when he'll have that chance.

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MLB rejects players' 114-game proposal, making 50-game season look possible

MLB rejects players' 114-game proposal, making 50-game season look possible

That 114-game season that the players’ union wanted?

Yeah, that’s not happening.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Major League Baseball rejected the union’s proposal for a 114-game schedule during which they would receive the full prorated salaries they agreed to in March.

Rosenthal also reported that the league does not plan to make a counter proposal, potentially lining things up for the 50-game season that was reported on earlier this week.


That same March agreement gave the league the authority to set a schedule for the 2020 season, a route the league could take if it cannot come to an agreement with the players.

And so the options for a shortened 2020 season, as presented by the owners, seem to be down to two, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman: an approximately 50-game season in which players receive their full prorated salaries, or an 82-game season in which players take another big pay cut, one the league has proposed will most dramatically impact its highest paid stars.


There might also be a third option, though it's not one any baseball fan wants to hear about.


RELATED: MLB could shrink season to 50 games if no deal reached with players

Team owners claim that the more games that are played without paying customers in the stands, the more money they lose, making it more difficult to pay the players the salaries they agreed to.

The players argue they haven’t seen sufficient reason to take another big pay cut and insist the owners, by refusing to open their books, have not shared enough proof of the losses they are forecasting.

It’s obvious that a season played without ticket sales and all the other sales that come from filling up stadiums with tens of thousands of people every day for six months would see a dramatic decline in revenue. But lucrative TV contracts would still mean revenue â€” and perhaps a lot of it, even if it pales in comparison to the record $10.7 billion Forbes reported the league took in last year.

The owners don't seem to think it would be anywhere close to enough to pay the players their full prorated salaries, though. They seem to have settled on the message that there is a certain amount of money they're capable of paying the players, and that if the players want it as part of full prorated salaries, they'll get it in only about 50 games, but if they want it over the course of 82 games, then it won't be a part of full prorated salaries.

While there are some health-related benefits to scattering 50 games over the course of three months, both pertaining to regular baseball stuff and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a 50-game schedule would rob fans of an awful lot of baseball. It could be argued that setting a playoff field â€” expected to expand from 10 teams to 14 â€” based off 50 games is an illegitimate way to crown a champion. It could be argued that the sprint of a shortened season would be a fascinating change of pace from baseball's typical marathon, which earns criticism for being, at times, glacially paced.

But the loss of roughly 110 games would be nothing compared to the loss of an entire season.

Any understanding over a season impeded by the coronavirus â€” not an impossibility, considering just one day after beginning exhibition play in Japan, two players tested positive â€” would be severely contrasted by the lack of sympathy stemming from a failed money fight.

So is it a league-mandated 50 games? A different, negotiated number of games? Or zero games?

Time will tell. But time is also of the essence if baseball wants to wrap up the postseason by the fall.

 

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