White Sox

Tim Anderson on White Sox pursuit of Manny Machado: 'I would love to play with him, but shortstop is mine'

Tim Anderson on White Sox pursuit of Manny Machado: 'I would love to play with him, but shortstop is mine'

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.

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MLB The Show: White Sox offense supplies fireworks in win over Rangers

MLB The Show: White Sox offense supplies fireworks in win over Rangers

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Result: White Sox def. Rangers, 9-6 
Record: 53-37, 1st in A.L. Central (4.0 games ahead of Twins)

W: Dane Dunning (5-1)
L: Kolby Allard (6-3)
SV: Alex Colome (18)

Game summary: Fans were treated to a beautiful Fourth of July in Arlington, Texas as the White Sox tried to take down the Texas Rangers after losing the series opener. The White Sox sent Texas’ own Michael Kopech to the mound and he was wayward of the strike zone early and often. The flame throwing righty only lasted three innings while walking six and giving up three earned runs.

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The White Sox got their offense from the middle of the lineup. Down 3-2 in the fifth, Yasmani Grandal hit a home run to left field to put the visitors out front. With 34 home runs, Grandal continues to lead the American League. After Nick Solak tied up the game at 4 in the fifth, Eloy Jimenez joined the homer parade in the seventh with a solo shot to put the Sox up 5-4. Jimenez continues to keep pace with Grandal and now has 33 home runs in his second big league season.

In the ninth, Grandal was once again in position to come through for the Sox and did with the bases loaded, driving in two with a double down the right field line, propelling the Sox to a 7-4 advantage. The Rangers bullpen then lost control, walking in two runs and giving the South Siders a commanding 9-4 lead.

White Sox lineup:

Edwin Encarnacion: 1-4, BB (.319 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 1-4, HR, RBI (.252 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 2-4, RBI (.278 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 2-4, HR, 4 RBI (.307 BA)
Jose Abreu: 2-4, RBI (.316 BA)
Tim Anderson: 0-4, RBI (.272 BA)
Luis Robert: 1-5, 2B (.255 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 0-3, RBI (.281 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 1-5, 2B (.253 BA)

Scoring summary:

Top first:

Jose Abreu singled to left field, Edwin Encarnacion scored. 1-0 CHW.

Bottom third:

Shin-Soo Choo homered to center field. 1-1.

Bottom fourth:

Roughned Odor singled to center field. Nick Solak scored. Todd Frazier scored. 3-1 TEX.

Top fifth:

Yoan Moncada singled off the pitcher's leg, Nomar Mazara scored. 3-2 TEX.
Yasmani Grandal homered to left field, Moncada scored. 4-3 CHW.

Bottom fifth:

Nick Solak sacrifice fly to left field, Joey Gallo scored. 4-4.

Top seventh:

Eloy Jimenez homered to left field. 5-4 CHW.

Top ninth:

Grandal doubled to right field, Encarnacion and Jimenez scored. 7-4 CHW.
Tim Anderson walked, Moncada scored. 8-4 CHW.
Nick Madrigal walked, Grandal scored. 9-4 CHW.

Bottom ninth:

Choo homered to left field. 9-5 CHW.
Willie Calhoun homered to right field. 9-6 CHW.

Notable performance: The White Sox Nos. 3-5 hitters did most of the damage offensively. Moncada, Grandal and Abreu went 6-for-12 collectively, driving in six of the nine Chicago runs.

Next game: Sunday, July 5 - Game 91: White Sox at Rangers (Lucas Giolito, 7-7, 4.46 ERA vs Corey Kluber, 5-6, 3.65 ERA)


Dallas Keuchel suggests White Sox can 'wreak a little havoc in the AL Central'

Dallas Keuchel suggests White Sox can 'wreak a little havoc in the AL Central'

It's not how you start, it's how you finish, right?

That's one of baseball's myriad enduring maxims. But like a lot of the other ones, it's going to have to be chucked out the window during this most unusual of seasons.

The sport's typical six-month marathon has been squeezed down to a two-month sprint, the campaign down to 60 regular-season games as Major League Baseball attempts to play in the middle of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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All 30 teams, obviously, were built for 162 games, not 60, sending everyone into a fit of head-scratching trying to figure out which clubs are best suited for the sprint to the postseason. That question is basically impossible to answer until teams start playing games.

A big factor? That ol' unpredictable variable: luck.

"Honestly, I think luck is going to play a (big) role in the 60-game season," White Sox starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel said Saturday. "It's going to be who kind of catches fire early and then who kind of catches fire late. If you can come out hot and play well early, and then idle for 20 games, but then kind of catch fire again the last 10, 15 games — there's a lot of different ways to do it. I've taken into account playoff years from my previous experience, and there's a lot of different ways."

Keuchel would figure to be spot on, and it only takes a glance back at last season to provide some convincing arguments. The Washington Nationals ended up winning the World Series but were under .500 and in fourth place in the NL East standings after 60 games. The Seattle Mariners are the other side of that coin. They got out to a fast start and were in first place in the AL West after 30 games, only to finish the season with 94 losses.

With only about 37 percent of a normal season's games being played this year, each one is worth twice or thrice as usual. A losing streak could dash a team's playoff hopes. A sweep of a division rival could completely rearrange the postseason picture. Some fans are upset about more than 100 games getting lopped off the schedule, but this could prove pretty exciting.

So what about the White Sox? How are they positioned for this sprint?

For the moment, they appear much like they did back in March: on the cusp of leaping out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode, capable of competing with two good teams, the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians, for the AL Central crown. The young core of Yoán Moncada, Tim Anderson, Eloy Jiménez and Lucas Giolito broke out in a big way last season. Then Rick Hahn's front office went to work in the offseason, adding Keuchel, Yasmani Grandal and other veterans with winning experience to the mix. José Abreu, the face of the franchise, returned on a new contract. And highly touted prospects Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal are expected to bring an even further boost.

If some of the young pitchers in the White Sox rotation can answer some questions about their consistency, the White Sox could be even more balanced than the power-hitting Twins or the power-pitching Indians.

RELATED: White Sox in playoffs? Tim Anderson: 'Something dope can happen in 60 games'

Keuchel thinks the White Sox bats could end up being the key, and with Grandal, Robert, Madrigal, Edwin Encarnación and Nomar Mazara all joining the lineup for 2020, that could definitely be the case. That could be enough lumber, even, to get the South Siders to the top of the division for the first time in more than a decade.

Even with a lot riding on luck, though, Keuchel is confident. Remember, it was his mom who back in spring training gave the White Sox their 2020 rallying cry: "Playoffs or die, b-----s!"

"I think this team, if we can get off to a hot start, if the bats can swing it like we know they can now with how deep our lineup's going to be," Keuchel said, "then I think we might wreak a little havoc in the AL Central."

That's music to White Sox fans' ears, who after sitting through a few rebuilding seasons are champing at the bit for a pennant race, even in a shortened season.

The months-long layoff between spring training and "Summer Camp" could put the White Sox in an even better position, allowing some of their pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgery to return to health and provide full-season options for Rick Renteria.

We'll see if they can slug with the Twins, or pitch with the Indians. But they look capable, and Keuchel — he's not the only one on the South Side, either — has confidence a season to remember could be in the works.