Tim Anderson likes how White Sox are shaping up heading into 2021 season
“We are heading in the right direction. You saw that last year,” Anderson said. “Hopefully we can pave a new road with Tony [La Russa] and see how that goes.”
This offseason, the White Sox added arguably the best closer in baseball in Liam Hendriks, one of the top starting pitchers in Lance Lynn and a right fielder in Adam Eaton who has a World Series ring.
They spent big ($54 million over four years) on Hendriks and should have the wherewithal to spend more before spring training begins Feb. 17, but shortstop Tim Anderson wasn’t exactly lobbying for more additions Thursday.
“We added some pieces that we needed,” Anderson said. “All those pieces are going to help us. I don’t really think it’s about spending a whole lot of money. It’s just doing what makes sense.
“We are heading in the right direction. You saw that last year. We were just missing a little bit. Hopefully we continue to build and keep going and continue to move where Ricky left. Hopefully we can pave a new road with Tony and see how that goes.”
“Ricky” is fired manager Rick Renteria and “Tony” is new 76-year-old manager Tony La Russa, a controversial hire that stunned Anderson when it was made Oct. 29.
“We’ve been texting back and forth,” Anderson said of La Russa. “It was a little confusing at first because I kind of built something with Ricky that was very special. Ricky had been there since I got there, and it’s always weird when you try something new. But I’m definitely open with Tony. We’re definitely going to build from zero.
“I never met him. I don’t know him, so I can’t go off of what people say. I’m kind of excited to learn from him. There’s a reason he has been in the game for a while and a reason he’s been so successful in his career. So I’m definitely interested in learning from him, and hopefully we can make this as smooth and as positive as we can.”
Anderson likes the leadership that already exists in the clubhouse and the blend of veterans and youth.
“Everybody gets along,” he said. “All the core guys have bought in. So I don’t think Tony has too much to worry about. He’s the guy who makes the lineup card. We just have to continue to push these guys in the direction that we know how and keep following [2020 American League MVP Jose] Abreu. He’s going to lead us to where we need to be.”
Anderson, expanding his credentials as the face of the franchise, on Thursday was selected as the cover athlete for R.B.I. Baseball 21, making him the first White Sox player to be featured on the cover of the popular video game. While it might not compare to winning a batting title as he did in 2019 or finishing seventh in AL MVP voting as he did in 2020, the honor is a big deal to players and baseball’s younger fan base, and it stamps Anderson’s status in a class with superstar company.
He joins Mookie Betts, Alex Bregman, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Francisco Lindor, Anthony Rizzo, Corey Seager and Christian Yelich as the stars who’ve graced the cover.
“It was always cool to see who was on the cover every year — those were guys I aspired to be,” Anderson said. “So now to see myself on the cover of R.B.I. 21 is really part of a dream come true. And I hope that kids will see my picture on the cover and realize they can do this, too. They just have to believe in themselves, follow their dreams and work at it.”
One of Anderson’s dreams is to win a World Series, and he said losing to the Athletics in the wild-card series “makes you more hungry.”
“We remember what Oakland felt like,’’ he said. ‘‘So I can only imagine what winning the World Series feels like.
“Anything is possible. It’s always the goal to win a World Series, not going to shy away from that.”