Why did Chicago White Sox decline Tim Anderson’s 2024 club option — and what’s next for the team at shortstop?

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Chicago White Sox general manager Chris Getz had to have a difficult conversation with shortstop Tim Anderson.

“What Tim Anderson meant for the organization, there is not enough time to go through the impact he’s made on the organization, the city, his teammates, the game,” Getz said during Tuesday’s MLB general managers meetings at a resort in Paradise Valley, Ariz.

“A guy that was drafted, went through the system and performed at the major-league level. So a decision like that needs to be as thorough as it possibly can. There was a lot of factors involved.”

The Sox declined the two-time All-Star’s $14 million club option for the 2024 season on Saturday. He receives a $1 million buyout.

Getz discussed the decision with reporters Tuesday.

“He’s my son’s favorite player as well so not only is TA disappointed in me but so is my son,” Getz said. “With the direction we’re going, and unfortunately a decision on a TA situation had to come when it did, pretty much immediately after the World Series.

“We have a lot of holes to fill on our club. We had 101 losses last year, so to have to fill so many holes in both near-term and long-term, felt like it was the best decision to decline that option.”

Anderson became one of the most recognizable players in baseball during his eight seasons with the Sox, winning a batting title in 2019 and hitting the dramatic walk-off, two-run home run at the Field of Dreams game against the New York Yankees in 2021.

He slashed .245/.286/.296 with 18 doubles, one home run, 25 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 123 games during an injury-impacted 2023.

“We are open to bringing TA back, but he’s earned the right to see if there is a better opportunity for him,” Getz said. “We wish TA very well. We have great memories with him. I know he shares the same sentiment and I wish him luck and we’ll stay in touch.

“There is going to be a healing process that needs to take place just because his life changed fairly dramatically with this decision. But he’s part of the White Sox family. I want TA to go out there and do well. I really genuinely do. If that’s with someone else, I’ll be rooting for him. We’ll see where the offseason goes for him.”

Getz said shifting to second base — where Anderson moved during the World Baseball Classic and for two games with the Sox in 2023 — was not part of the conversation the two had.

“He has a self-evaluation and other organizations have their evaluations whether it becomes defense or offensive potential,” Getz said. “But we didn’t dive into where he is best fit defensively.

“He’s a very athletic player, he has the ability to play some shortstop. He could easily go over to second base and I believe he could play in the outfield, too. He’s versatile and he’s going to have options.”

The Sox already had a lot of work to do this offseason, including second base, right field, behind the plate and with their rotation and bullpen. They’ve added shortstop to that list.

“You have to find a way to allocate resources, and figure out the best way to do that,” Getz said. “We have a lot of pitching holes to fill and the middle infield to take care of.

“I really like to focus on our defense. That’s going to be a large focus of us this offseason. I want it to be an attractive place where pitchers want to pitch. We’ll set out to do that.”

Which direction the Sox go at shortstop becomes one of the top questions for the team this offseason. And the next steps for a shortstop in their system, 2021 first-round pick Colson Montgomery, remain to be seen.

Rated the organization’s top prospect by MLB.com, Montgomery entered Tuesday with a .244/.302/.423 slash line, three home runs and 20 RBIs in 19 games during the Arizona Fall League. He earned Fall Stars Game MVP honors Sunday in Mesa, Ariz. The 21-year-old played most of his games in 2023 at Double-A Birmingham.

“He’s been the talk of the Arizona Fall League,” Getz said. “Not just the White Sox talking, other organizations as well. That just speaks to his potential and how much he’s getting better and every time he goes out and plays, I don’t want to set limitations on a Colson Montgomery. He’s a guy that is very unique and has the ability to be a special player at the major-league level. He’s finishing strong in the fall league.

“We hope for a productive offseason out of him. He’s still growing into his body. But he’s played a pretty solid shortstop here in the fall league. He has some zone awareness, he has a hit tool, he has some power he’s tapping into so he has a chance to be a well-rounded player. I don’t want to have the expectation for Colson to think he’s going to be our Opening Day shortstop, but I also don’t want to cap anything for him either because it’s important for him to stay motivated and be ready to go in spring training, because who knows how 2024 unravels for him.”


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