Tim Anderson’s injury hits the only White Sox who’d been hitting

In the end, Tony La Russa was more correct than Ozzie Guillen when it came to handling Tim Anderson, but both points had merit.

That Anderson suffered a significant groin injury on an involved-yet-standard baseball effort on Sunday showed why La Russa tried to rest Anderson’s legs as much as possible, much to Guillen’s chagrin. That Anderson had to be helped off the field making the kind of above-average play required of a shortstop showed why a manager might be better off maximizing lineups when possible, because some players will struggle to stay on the field no matter the care and caution taken.

La Russa played Anderson on a 140-game pace through Sunday’s excruciating victory over the Cubs, including six consecutive games. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but considering Anderson could only take the field for 123 games in his last two full seasons, it represented a step up. At the same time, six consecutive games over this particular stretch wasn’t a huge ask, because it included two days off, and another one right around the corner today. Conveniently, six games in eight days would put him on pace for 122 games, so he’d been playing the workload to which he was accustomed.

Anderson’s status is now up in the air, and the White Sox said he’ll undergo further evaluation today. Based on what we saw and how everybody sounded, 123 games suddenly looks enviable, and the larger picture bleak.

I’m not inclined to write off the White Sox, if only because the Twins lost Sonny Gray and Royce Lewis in the same game, leading Dan Hayes to issue a similar verdict of what he saw at Target Field Sunday.

The AL Central is shaping up to be a war of attrition, so the White Sox may not be out, if only because the division will not allow them to be.

Yet I don’t blame anybody who is considering other summer plans, because Anderson was the only automatic contributor on the offense. His season hits the pause button while he’s hitting .356/.393/.503, and he’d taken his unusual powers to a whole new level. He was swinging more yet whiffing less, 8-for-8 in stolen bases, and with defense that was digging itself out of a huge hole to start the season, he put himself on pace for MVP votes.

Nobody else on the White Sox has an OPS within 120 points of Anderson’s .896, but setting the specifics production aside for a second, Anderson’s injury strikes such a chord at this particular time because he’s the only White Sox position player making the game resemble entertainment. Without him, a White Sox lineup card triggers the quiet despair of watching hungry toddlers languish in an escape room. Work together? They can’t even take care of themselves.

There are no fresh Band-Aids, either. Jake Burger can’t play second base as long as Yoán Moncada’s own mutinous legs are requiring Burger to play third. Also, Burger can’t play second base. It’s a fun idea until the first couple pop-ups inside the right-field line. Yolbert Sánchez could help a little, but his ceiling is what the Sox had hoped for from Josh Harrison, and the floor is something like what the Sox are getting from Harrison now.

That makes Sánchez is worth trying if the White Sox go that route, but the material improvements are going to have to come from the players who haven’t been improving, available, or some combination of the two. Besides the standard battle between optimism and pessimism, there isn’t much to say. We can only watch, and that could be considerably more difficult now. That’s what I get the Patreon bucks for.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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NateDPT12

The solution is sad but simple. They have to play better. Grandal, Moncada, Pollock, and Sheets all have to start hitting. Jimenez, provided he can stay in the field, will help but he’s not going to fix the offense by himself. Sanchez being an above average hitter will help as well considering g how bad Harrison has been.

This all highlights to foolishness of Hahn slow walking filling out the roster. They wasted the 18 off-season because they didn’t think their window was open yet instead of forcing it open. Then had no urgency to get a complete roster while an over 30 catcher and mid 30’s Abreu were key offensive cogs. Then when they inevitably start to decline they don’t have the roster or prospect depth to weather it. Especially when younger players get injured.

Greg Nix

My new summer project is to go back in time and kill Charles Comiskey so this cursed franchise is never founded.

itaita

Ill happily take 2005 if you dont want it anymore.

BenwithVen

I think it’d be more fun to buy it from him in like 1910 and then go scout a kid in Baltimore named George Herman Ruth

jhomeslice

If the value of the Sox is 1.7 Billion, it would take a million fans with $1700 each to buy them out. They should auction the team off and make them publicly owned, let fans with a little bit of money bid and own pieces of the franchise. I’m sure there are a lot of drawbacks to this, which is not a seriously or well though out idea, but one thing is pretty damn clear – this team isn’t going to win another title until Jerry dies or sells this team.

Joliet Orange Sox

After figuring out time travel which I expect will only take you a few weeks at most, what will you do with the rest of the summer?

LamarJohnson

Jim earns the Patreon bucks for lines like, “a White Sox lineup card triggers the quiet despair of watching hungry toddlers languish in an escape room. Work together? They can’t even take care of themselves.” You make despair worth reading, at least.

White Sox Wade

I think we have a new Sox Machine motto – Sox Machine, they watch the games so you don’t have to!

Greg Nix

I believe that was quite literally the site motto prior to 2020.

White Sox Wade

True, what was old is new again!

Papa Giorgio

I always read that in my head using Joe Dirt’s voice

metasox

Has there been any been good analysis of Grandal? Or any comments from the organization? I noticed his hard hit rate is down. Of course, he has had all the surgeries. But not clear how much is lingering effects of the last surgery, general aging, approach or something else and how likely any of it (other than age) is to turn around.

As Cirensica

A decline this steep has to be health related. I think Grandal is not healthy, yet healthy enough not to be on the IL. I think opposing pitchers are exploiting this. My money is on his knees. Grandal needs to learn and adapt.

A few years ago, Miguel Cabrera’s knees couldn’t hold up. Cabrera’s power just disappeared because he couldn’t put the weight of his body to the knees that allowed him to hit for power. Cabrera adapted. He hits a lot of singles now, and he has a .340 OBP now and almost hitting for 300. Of course, Cabrera’s talent is superior to Grandal’s, but maybe Grandal needs to adapt while he regains health (if any).

metasox

It is a reasonable bet the knees are involved. But I recall he had surgery during last season and bounced back strong. And then another procedure after the season. If there was a a dropoff related to knees, I would have expected it later in the year

soxygen

By “adapt” do you mean “play another position”? Because the front office has accumulated several guys who play DH.

soxfan

I think he means “stop trying to pull into the shift and take what the defense gives you by going the other way.” If his power’s gone, then he can stop pulling the ball, hit to the left side force them out of the shift and then start using all fields again.

soxygen

If he needs to adapt because his knees are shot, then the team can’t count on him to be the regular catcher. So he would need to play 1B or DH, where he would competing for ABs with several other people on the active roster.

As Cirensica

I mean adapt at hitting (also at catching). If you see the way Miggy hits the ball nowadays and compare it to how he hit the ball in his healthy days, you will understand. Sometimes the body “adapts” you whether you want it or not.

In this tweet of a recent homer, you can see how Miggy does not even move his legs anymore, and no much hips move. The homers come from his arms strength

https://twitter.com/tigers/status/1433227319275970561?s=20&t=EtBn6IB8qLoQlbUzMyMQIA

In the past, his swings were a thing to behold:

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/miguel-cabreras-ridiculousplate-coverage/

mikeyb

Sure, but Miggy adapting is a lot different than Yaz adapting. Miggy is one of the greatest hitters in the history of the sport. He adapted and ended up as an above average hitter. Yaz was an above average hitter. Him adapting might result in a player who ends up looking like Zach Collins.

phillyd

I wish we had bat speed measurements. His bat speed looks really slow this year. A new model/length/weight might be in order.

chipporter

I have noticed that Pito winces quite a bit more than I remember…as do I….but I’m 63

Nellie Fox

Does the white sox have a hitting coach? Health is a separate issue but why is hitting becoming an epidemic ?

As Cirensica

Excellent question. They do have one…at least on paper.

GoGoSoxFan

“Hitting is contagious”. –Hawk Harrelson

I don’t recall him ever saying if non-hitting was.

StockroomSnail

Then hitting is NOT covid

calcetinesblancos

With TA down and apparently two anti-vaxxers not making the trip to Canada, isn’t this THE time to call up Sanchez and see what he can do? Please god just once can this organization do something sensible or interesting?

digger0910

Graveman? Ugh who else.

tommytwonines

Cease, apparently, although I don’t think he was scheduled to pitch.

Foulkelore

Right, Cease started Sunday and threw 108 pitches. He won’t pitch until Friday at the earliest (against TB), so at least him not being able to go won’t hurt the team.

Joliet Orange Sox

Does Graveman get paid when he decides he isn’t going to do his job for 3 days?

calcetinesblancos

Could that loss of service time come back and bite Cease in the ass at some point?

vanillablue

Shockingly, the unvaccinated Sox turn out to be two white guys from the South. Nice that they get to have a 3 day vacation while their teammates try to keep the season afloat against a playoff contender.

As Cirensica

This is a bad take.

soxygen

A collapse is not inevitable…but if 2022 for the Sox is like 2021 for the Twins, who are the guys with trade value that this team would and should trade? For a team that won’t spend money on starting pitching, those guys seem like assets that the team should not trade. Given the strange loyalty/nostalgia tendencies, I don’t see them trading Abreu (and wouldn’t be surprised if they re-sign him next year). A good month by Pollock might create some value, but not much. So maybe a reliever or two? Gavin Sheets? I don’t see much of an opportunity to re-stock the farm.

Last edited 6 months ago by soxygen
jhomeslice

Eloy is one guy to consider trading. I wouldn’t give him away and don’t want to get rid of him at a low point in his value, but he probably has more value than anybody in their minor leagues. Other than him, unless they trade Vaughn for somebody like Ketel Marte, Sox don’t have a lot of good trade pieces since their minor leagues are pretty vacant. There is always Crochet I guess. But they can include a hall of fame manager in any trade!

Trooper Galactus

I think Eloy’s value is almost nonexistent at this point. Starting next year he’ll be making eight figures a season, and that’s an awful lot of money for a guy who, after a good showing in the abbreviated 2020 season, has been a below average hitter and a decidedly terrible defender since then on the rare occasions he’s been healthy enough to play. If somebody exactly like Eloy were a free agent right now, I don’t think anybody would be lining up to guarantee him $20+ million for the next two seasons.

WHITESOX_RIGHT_SOX

Nah let ‘em sleep in the bed they made. Let’s see this contention window through as constructed. If we’re lucky, as Sox fans, the Reinsdorfian regime will aptly end with the current ‘contention window.’

soxfan

If the Twins are the comp, then you have to imagine that Giolito and Hendriks are tradable considering Berrios was traded before his walk year. Both are under team control for 2023 so they’d theoretically return quite a haul but the team and Giolito reportedly weren’t seeing eye to eye during the arbitration process so a long term deal here doesn’t seem likely. Hendriks would double as a good return and a salary dump allowing the Sox to resign someone to replace Giolito in the rotation while letting Graveman close.

As Cirensica

If Hahn decides we are out of the race (he won’t). I would trade Giolito and Hendriks and any other reliever with value.

soxygen

Yeah, Giolito would be the guy to trade in a rebuild…and maybe they would.

I meant that even though they would get value for Giolito (or Cease or Kopech) , if the idea is just “it’s a lost year, we’ll be competing again in 2023” then I don’t know that it would make sense to do that. Especially given that the team doesn’t believe in signing $100M pitching contracts.

Last edited 6 months ago by soxygen
mikeyb

Giolito or Lynn
Hendriks
Graveman
Bummer
Pollock if he has a good month
Abreu if somebody needs a 1B
Yaz if he has a good month

Go into 2023 with Eloy, Robert, and new RF for the outfield. Moncada, Tim, new 2B, and Vaughn for the infield. Cease, Kopech, Lynn/Giolito, for SP.

So you would need to acquire a catcher, a 2B, a RF, and a couple SPs, plus hope somebody from the minors can fill the bullpen. Basically, it’s the 2022 off-season all over again!

Last edited 6 months ago by mikeyb
To Err is Herrmann

You would also need a new owner committed to winning and a general manager who actually addresses priorities.

soxygen

The scenario would be a re-load, not a re-build.

roke1960

The problem is, if Hahn failed on this rebuild, I would not trust him on another. And as long as Jerry is owner, I doubt things in the front office will change.

roke1960

The problem with comparing this year’s Sox to last year’s Twins is that the Sox are a .500 team right now and the Twins were 10 under at this time. Plus this year’s Twins have gotten to 9-over by playing an inordinate amount of games against the 4 worst teams in the AL- Royals, Tigers, Orioles and A’s. They have played those 4 teams in 27 of their 49 games. After Thursday, they play those 4 only 20 more times, while the Sox have 38 games left against those 4. At this time last year the Twins were 10 games out, and by June 15th they were 26-41, 16 games out. Plus the Twins have almost as many injuries as the Sox. Correa and Buxton are continually in and out of the lineup, Royce Lewis just went on the IL yesterday, and their best pitcher Sonny Gray got hurt yesterday. I don’t see any of the other 4 teams in the division being better than 85 wins this year, and that is probably a big stretch. The Twins still have 41 games left against the 10 best teams in the majors (not counting the Mets, who they don’t play). Plus they have 16 each against the Sox and Cleveland. That’s 73 of the remaining 113 against those teams.

The Sox are the only team in this division that can run away from everyone. But that means they must start right now. With Timmy out and 2 guys not eligible (Graveman and Cease?), it’s time to bring up a couple of guys to try to inject some fresh blood in the offense. Yolbert and Carlos Perez seem to be the two most likely. They are getting absolutely no production from catcher and 2b, it’s time to try something new. Yaz seems broken beyond repair right now, and he is a huge liability in the lineup. They can’t continue the status quo of win one, lose one. But again, with as bad as they have been, they are still at .500 and are done with the Yankees and Red Sox, and will be done with the Rays after this week. The good players need to step up, especially Moncada, Pollock and Abreu, and Vaughn and Robert need to continue hitting. This division is just sitting there for the taking.

If they started trading guys right now, the window would be closed, and we would return to 2016 again. There is way too much talent to give up on that now. All they have to do is get in the playoffs. With a starting 4 of Giolito, Cease, Kopech and Lynn, they match up with anyone in the AL. And their lineup if healthy is very strong- they just need to play up to their capabilites. Of course the x-factor is LaRussa, so that might be their downfall. But throwing away this season ends the championship window- I don’t think any of us want that.

Last edited 6 months ago by roke1960
To Err is Herrmann

All true. Good analysis. A lot also depends upon the willingness of Hahn and Reinsdorf to sincerely and intelligently build a championship team with full measures rather than half measures.

soxygen

The Twins are in first place and last year traded an expiring Jose Berrios contract for Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson, who are currently ranked #2 and #6 in their system. I don’t know that we have an expiring contract with that kind of trade value… And that is unfortunate!

Trooper Galactus

Getting prospects that would be ranked #2 and #6 in the White Sox system would not be much of an accomplishment.

soxygen

Isn’t that kind of the point though? If the season ends up being lost, it would be nice to at least be able to come back next year with a deeper system.

For what it’s worth, Martinis ranked #62 on MLB pipeline’s top 100, and Woods Richardson is, I believe, a 21 year old who is starting in AA and averages more than 5 innings per start, more than 1 strikeout per inning, and is allowing a .195 batting average against.

It would be nice (if this season ends up being a catastrophe) to come back next year ready to compete and with some significant new talent in the system beyond whatever we draft at #26 in the 1st round.

Last edited 6 months ago by soxygen
Trooper Galactus

Martinis would have been far and away our top prospect if we had him. Richardson might very well have been second. Like, I can’t understate how little there is in our system, though I think Colson Montgomery may be turning some heads now.

Augusto Barojas

If the Sox don’t have players who can play more than 120 games, this team is doomed. They don’t have the depth to weather half their guys missing 40 games or more, but that’s what they’re getting. Eloy and Moncada probably won’t play that many more than 100 the way things are looking. We can only hope TA is only down 3 weeks or so.

StockroomSnail

Ah dourness, you familiar urine moistened blanket… you’re back.

digger0910

I can’t say that I missed it, but it just feels right.

Malkatraz

Just call up Yermin so he can provide his 204 wRC+ for a month and half… season saved.

Wait, that was last year’s fluke.

HallofFrank

For all the understandable dour, it’s worth remembering that they could very conceivably have the best rotation in baseball in two weeks and they’ve outperformed our expectations for this miserable stretch of the season.

I, for one, expect brighter days ahead.

chipporter

While I understand and appreciate your optimism, the Sox have proven that they have difficulty winning even in low scoring games. Can’t win if you don’t score, so my glass is a bit dusty on the bottom.

This is the greatest source of my frustrations, that we have such a solid staff and relievers, only to be undermined by a selfish owner giving us the middle finger because he’s trying to atone with his buddy for a previous mistake and then giving his buddy free reign over the comportment of the roster.

The window is closing fast, and the middle finger is still raised high in the air.

Last edited 6 months ago by chipporter
HallofFrank

The “window is closing” stuff is nonsense. Most of the core is under contract for several years. If JR drastically lowers the payroll, then yes—the window will close. Otherwise, they should be the best team in the Central for the next 2-3 years at least. That doesn’t mean they’ll always win. Maybe half the team will be either injured or play like crap for no reason, like the first 2 months of this year. But for now, there are plenty of reasons to think this team will turn it around—even if they aren’t as good as we hoped.

Trooper Galactus

One of the core pieces, Eloy Jimenez, has been bad, and is entering sunk cost territory on a team that can ill afford to throw $10 million into another non-productive player. Another core player, Luis Robert, has never been healthy enough to carry the team as expected. Jose Abreu is in the last year of his contract and, honestly, shouldn’t come back if they’re serious about improving. Yoan Moncada seems to not be a centerpiece and more of a complementary player. Anderson is still a core piece, but plays about 120 games a season. Let’s stop talking about this core like it’s something to keep going to the well with.