You think you’re tired of waiting for Manny Machado to make a decision?
Imagine what Tim Anderson and Yolmer Sanchez must be feeling. The two players who would be most directly impacted by a possible Machado signing were asked about it roughly 5,732 times at SoxFest over the weekend.
Both were locked in at shortstop and third base in 2018 for the White Sox. 2019 offers no such guarantees. Not with a 26-year-old, four-time All Star available on the open market and the White Sox in a three-month pursuit to sign him.
There’s been much speculation that Machado, who’s won two Gold Gloves at third base, prefers to play shortstop with his new team. However, manager Rick Renteria shot down that theory last week, telling NBC Sports Chicago that Machado “has said that he will play wherever we need him to play to help us win. So I’m not worried about where he’s going to play. He knows the makeup of the roster.”
For the record, Anderson is in favor of the White Sox signing Machado. Here’s his pitch to the coveted free agent:
“We’re good people. The clubhouse is good. I think the vibe is good in the locker room. Come play with us.”
But ask Anderson if he’ll step out of the way and hand over his shortstop job to Machado, and you’ll get a much different answer.
“I don’t feel like I have to bow down to nobody. I don’t feel like I just have to give something up what I worked hard for. I would love to play with him, but shortstop is mine,” Anderson said. “I came too far for these fans to kind of just want me to give it to Machado. I don’t think that’s right, but at the end of the day, I get it. I see both sides, so that’s why I’m here to try and win a championship. The White Sox have been nothing but good to me, so I give them nothing but respect by what they have going on.”
No matter who you are, there’s always someone next in line to take your job away. That’s just a reality in professional sports.
“Everyone says, ‘What if Machado signs here?’ If not Machado, Jake (Burger) is in the minor leagues. He’s trying to take my spot,” Sanchez said.
Rick Hahn has also mentioned the possibility of moving Yoan Moncada over to third base, potentially creating more competition for Sanchez. In the end, the versatility of Sanchez all around the diamond should favor him no matter what happens.
“I play everywhere,” Sanchez said. “They don’t want to ask me, but what if Machado plays third? OK, I’m fine. If we win the World Series, I’m fine with that.”
Anderson might not be a Gold Glove shortstop, but the teammate who plays right next to him predicts that day is coming soon.
“He’s been playing really, really good shortstop. I know that this year or next year he’s going to be a Gold Glove winner,” Sanchez said about Anderson. “I’ve been playing with him since the minor leagues. I know how hard he’s working.”
Anderson says he used to feel like an athlete playing shortstop, but in the middle of last season, he believes he turned a pivotal corner in his development.
“Everything became more fluid. I started feeling more comfortable. Plays I was making, it was crazy, I didn’t know how I was making them. It was one of those things where I’m learning the position a lot more. I’m doing a lot of dope stuff. I’m working my tail off,” Anderson said.
Do you think you can be one of the best shortstops in the game?
“Yeah. For sure. Definitely,” Anderson said.
Just as long as Anderson remains the White Sox shortstop.
“If (Machado) takes it, kudos to him and I’ll have to find somewhere to play,” Anderson said. “It’s fair game. I get it. You come in and you take it, it’s yours man. Congrats. I’m not that guy. I get it where I fit in. I’m on board with winning. I think that’s what the White Sox are trying to do.”
But first, they’ll actually need to sign Machado.
“I think we should just worry about getting him here, then when he gets here we’ll worry about where we’ll put the pieces at. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete, he’s an athlete,” Anderson said.
And the waiting game continues.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.