There were two assumptions surrounding Manny Machado this offseason.
The first was that he was going to sign with the White Sox.
Meeting with the Sox in mid-December at Guaranteed Rate Field, Machado was said to have been impressed with the club’s loaded farm system and promising future.
Machado also had to know the Sox had the payroll space to accommodate his forthcoming monster contract. Oh, yeah, the Sox also traded for his brother-in-law (Yonder Alonso) and signed his close friend (Jon Jay).
The second assumption? Machado would play shortstop for the Sox.
Tim Anderson was fine with the first one.
“I would love to have [Machado],” he said.
Anderson wasn’t so fine with the second assumption, since he is the Sox’s starting shortstop.
“I definitely see myself at shortstop, and it’s going to be tough to kind of move me,” Anderson said. “I put in a lot of work to get where I am today. I don’t care about the [Machado] situation. One decision won’t determine my future.”
Although it’s hard to tell from the aforementioned remarks, Anderson still is not overly vocal as he enters his fourth season with the Sox.
But ask the 25-year-old infielder a direct question, and you’re going to get a direct answer.
“I think it serves him well, the confidence that he’s gained over the last couple of years of playing in the big leagues,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It brings out a little bit more of the tenacity the kid shows and has shown to put himself where he is in terms of the improvement he has made as a shortstop.
“I don’t think [Machado] was ever anything that really bothered him or he thought about too much. He knew what he could do, and he was going to get ready to show everybody that he was going to hold on to that particular position.”
Machado wound up signing with the Padres, so Anderson is going to continue on as the Sox’s shortstop.
If he continues to progress like he did last year, Anderson is going to ease the sting of the Sox failing to land Machado.
“I know what I have to do to be the player I want to be,” Anderson said. “I know where I want to be at in life and in the field. I go out to reach those goals every day.”
In 2018, Anderson became the first shortstop in Sox history to have 20 or more home runs and stolen bases in the same year.
The glove always was the biggest concern, and Anderson had 10 errors over his first 42 games of the season. He kept working and committed only 10 errors over the final 101.
“I was feeling like an athlete just playing, and now I’m learning the game more,” Anderson said. “Some of the plays I made last year were just off athleticism. If I take that and put that with learning the game, the sky’s the limit. I’m excited where I’m at and the direction I’m headed.”