White Sox

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson speaks on his infamous bat flip: 'I know that woke the black community up'

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USA TODAY

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson speaks on his infamous bat flip: 'I know that woke the black community up'

"I don't care about what anyone has to say, I go out and do me."

These were the words White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson in an interview with The Undefeated that was released on Monday. 

Anderson has made quite a name for himself in 2019. The 26-year-old shortstop is in the midst of a career-best season. As of Monday evening, he has a slash line of .324/ .347/.492 with 12 home runs and 39 RBI. 

Anderson has gone on at length explaining his reasoning behind his bat flips and vibrant displays of emotion that are not commonplace in MLB action.

Earlier in the year Anderson was on Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum's podcast and stated, "You're playing a game that you're failing most of the time and the times that you do succeed they don't want you to enjoy those moments. For me man, y'know, I think that's just a lot of pain showing.....from struggling, that's just that emotion that's coming out man.....those moments that I want to remember and I want people around me to remember. That’s why I play the way that I do.”

When asked to described the current culture of Major League Baseball for The Undefeated, Anderson was quick in his response, "Boring."

And Anderson has indeed been a part of the crusade to make baseball more exciting for the viewer with his high energy style of play.

He made national headlines and ignited a huge discussion about the "unwritten rules" of baseball with his bat flipping antics following his 50th career home run against the Kansas City Royals on April 17. Anderson knew how big the moment was and says things got "more interesting" following that day.

"I know that woke the black community up. A lot of black people don't watch baseball, when they seen a black guy flip a bat...[they said] 'he's one of us.'

But Anderson—the lone black player on the White Sox—also wants to make sure he is doing his absolute best to inspire other young black athletes to pursue their dreams of becoming MLB players and he has already helped a large number of young athletes find a suitable role model. Amateur elite outfielder Winston Hill said, "Ever since Tim Anderson's been in the league I've always kept my eye on him.....he plays the game the right way but yet still has fun with it and that's what the game's all about to me."

Anderson will continue to motivate the youth to achieve their dreams and do all that he can to help baseball resonate within the black community. "If you see a guy that's close to your area, at a high-level playing and having fun, you know, I'm sure they're [kids] gonna want to go out and do the same thing."

Ultimately, Anderson's long-term goal is to "motivate the culture to try and learn more about baseball and motivate kids to get into baseball" and if he keeps the momentum built in 2019 rolling well into 2020 and beyond, Major League Baseball will be all the better because of it.

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White Sox free agent focus: Turning to Marcell Ozuna to fill out the outfield

White Sox free agent focus: Turning to Marcell Ozuna to fill out the outfield

Baseball free agency is heating up as the weather gets colder. This week we are breaking down 10 potential free-agent targets for the White Sox ahead of the Winter Meetings.

Marcell Ozuna, OF, Cardinals

Age: 29

2019 salary: $12,250,000

2019 stats: .241 BA, .328 OBP, .472 SLG, .800 OPS, 29 HR, 89 RBI, 80 R, 12/14 SB 

What Ozuna would bring to the White Sox

Ozuna appeared on the verge of becoming an elite star like Anthony Rendon after a breakout season in 2017 with the Marlins. Ozuna came up at 22 and had decent years early in his career. He improved upon his first few years with 37 home runs, 124 RBIs and a .924 OPS as a 26-year-old.

Unlike Rendon, who broke through in 2017 and has sustained that for three seasons now, Ozuna's breakout year appears to be more of a flash in the pan. Ozuna was traded to the Cardinals before the 2018 season and saw a dropoff in his production.

His power and walk rate took big dips in 2018, although he bounced back in both last season. However, he hit .241, which was the lowest batting average of his career.

Ozuna had a career-high walk rate (11.3%) and had the second-best extra-base hit and home run rates of his career (he was only better in those areas in 2017). His strikeout rate (20.8%) was in line with his career average. So what went wrong? His batting average of balls in play was a career-worst .257, which suggests that maybe he's due for some form of bounce back in 2020 as far as batting average.

To simplify all that, Ozuna was good in some areas and inexplicably poor (and maybe unlucky) in others. Does that mean he will return to his big 2017 year wherever he signs? Probably not, but it does help to alleviate some of the feeling of risk for a player who has been inconsistent in his career.

Defensively, Ozuna has a Gold Glove on his resume from 2017, but the stats say he's just an average fielder. Not to mention, he's become infamous for this fielding gaffe.


What it would take to get him

He's young with a mostly positive track record offensively and if he can recreate his 2017 season offensively, he's an all-star outfielder. He won't be cheap, but he has enough question marks to come up just short of $20 million per year.

Ozuna should be able to get four or five years in the mid-to-upper teens per year, similar to fellow outfield free agent Nicholas Castellanos.

Why it's a fit for the White Sox

The White Sox need a corner outfielder. He fills a position of need, adds depth, patience and power to the lineup and won't be a liability in the field.

Ozuna isn't the splashiest signing the White Sox could make, but it makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons.

Latest rumors

White Sox add flamethrowing Tayron Guerrero to bullpen

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USA TODAY

White Sox add flamethrowing Tayron Guerrero to bullpen

The White Sox added a flamethrower to their bullpen.

Tayron Guerrero is the newest member of the White Sox relief corps, the team claiming the 28-year-old right-hander off waivers from the Miami Marlins on Friday.

Guerrero's most eye-catching attribute is his triple-digit fastball. He averaged 98.9 mph on his four-seam fastball in 2019 and threw the second most 100-mph pitches (178) of any pitcher in baseball. He posted a 10.6 K/9 in 2018.

But throwing hard and giving up runs are two different things. In 2019, Guerrero had a 6.26 ERA, a number that jumped up from the already less-than-ideal 5.43 ERA he turned in a year prior. He also had some trouble locating said fireball, walking 36 batters in 46 relief innings in 2019 for a ridiculously high 7.0 BB/9.

Still, this type of addition was signaled as perhaps the primary way the White Sox would add to their bullpen this offseason. With so many other items on Rick Hahn's offseason to-do list and the back end of the bullpen being a pretty stable part of the roster, the general manager said that small signings and waiver claims would continue to be part of the strategy when it comes to making additions to the relief corps.

Hahn referenced the team's acquisitions of Evan Marshall, who was signed to a minor league contract last winter, and Jimmy Cordero, who was claimed off waivers in the middle of the 2019 season, as moves to emulate going forward.

"All 30 teams will tell you ... that adding more bullpen pieces is an offseason priority, and we're no exception," Hahn said during his end-of-season press conference in September. "Cordero's been a nice find, as has been Marshall, but that's not going to stop us from continuing to potentially take guys off waivers like Cordero or (sign) minor league free agents like Marshall.

"It's going to go into this offseason continuing to be a place we want to add because relievers are tricky. You see it every year, guys go from the top of the list to the bottom and back."

As Hahn frequently says, you can never have too much pitching, and while this might be a low-risk move, it could end up proving fruitful, as those Cordero and Marshall moves did.

Spending on money on more proven guys has also been a part of the White Sox strategy in this department in the recent past. Hahn's front office gave Kelvin Herrera a two-year deal just last winter. But as Herrera showed during a rough first year of that contract, even guys with good track records can lead to easy second-guessing on those kinds of deals. So building up depth through less splashy means figures to be a good idea, regardless of the results.

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