You can’t blame Tim Anderson for being just a little possessive about his spot at shortstop. With hard work and attention to detail, he improved defensively as the 2018 season went on.
And he wants to play shortstop again in 2019, which wouldn’t even be an issue if the White Sox were not a finalist for free agent Manny Machado. But they are, and Machado prefers to play Anderson’s position, even though most view him as better at third base, where the Sox have a more obvious opening.
“We’re definitely open arms if he comes,’’ Anderson said Wednesday. “He definitely would help our ballclub a lot. He would play a great role in what we’re trying to do and where we’re trying to go.’’
What Anderson, 25, is trying to do is develop into an All-Star. At shortstop. And while he’s about being a good soldier and team player, he views himself locked in at the premium position.
“Yeah, definitely,’’ he said. “I put in a lot of work to get where I am. It’s not going to be easy to move me.’’
And if a Machado arrival would change the dynamic of the infield? It would be a nice Sox problem to have, but a position-change question for Anderson might be putting the cart ahead of the horse.
“I’m just here to win championships,’’ Anderson said, ‘‘however they want to use me. I’m just here to play and have fun.’’
Two days ahead of SoxFest, Anderson spent part of his day with manager Rick Renteria and teammates Adam Engel and Daniel Palka reading books and handing out Sox hats and blankets to children at the Mitzi Freidheim Englewood Child and Family Center.
The Sox had hoped — dreamed? — to have Machado participating at SoxFest, but he and Bryce Harper, the two top free agents in a slow-moving market, don’t appear close to signing with a team with spring training only three weeks away. The Sox and Phillies are the two known teams in on Machado, who is likely waiting for larger offers.
Renteria described the Sox’ meeting with Machado in December as “great” and described Machado, 26, as a “great young man.”
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“We expressed our interest; we talked about what we are as an organization,” Renteria said. “You just don’t yet know where things will fall. I thought it was a very positive meeting for all parties involved.’’
As for the hustle issue Machado sparked during the postseason, Renteria — who demands full effort from his players — shrugged it off.
“He’s a major-league player with a lot of talent and a lot of desire to have success and help a club,’’ Renteria said. “Everybody makes mistakes. For goodness’ sakes, I make a ton of them.’’
Renteria would like to know whom he’ll be dealing with in spring training.
“What the dynamics are, why it’s not completed yet with anybody, let alone ourselves, you kind of scratch your head a little bit,’’ he said. “Everybody is doing their due diligence and trying to get a young man who’s extremely talented, probably doing the best they can to get him under the best terms.’’
NOTE: SoxFest — Friday through Sunday at the Hilton Chicago — is sold out. Opening ceremonies begin at 4 p.m. Friday. First-day seminars: SportsTalk Live @ SoxFest — Jason Benetti and Chuck Garfien with Rick Hahn and Rick Renteria; A Perfect Day — Darrin Jackson with Ozzie Guillen, Ken Williams and Dewayne Wise; The Journey to Cooperstown — Steve Stone with Jim Thome, Frank Thomas, Carlton Fisk, Tim Raines and Harold Baines.