White Sox are built for the long haul
“Every time you do a deal, it makes it more appealing for the next guy,” White Sox assistant GM Jeremy Haber said. “We don’t believe a roster is ever finished, so there is more work to be done.”
MINNEAPOLIS — Tim Anderson sets the tone for the White Sox on the field, and in many ways he set it for their rebuild when he signed a six-year, $25 million extension during spring training in 2017.
The year before, the Sox began a teardown by trading Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and two other prospects and dealing Adam Eaton to the Nationals for Lucas Giolito, Dane Dunning and Reynaldo Lopez. The following summer, they traded Jose Quintana to the Cubs for Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease.
“I give TA a ton of credit for starting that snowball,” Sox assistant general manager Jeremy Haber said. “When he agreed to his deal, he very loudly said, ‘I want to be here; I believe in this; we’re going to get through this.’ ’’
Anderson had played 99 games the year before in his rookie season. He was 23.
“It’s life-changing. For me to perform the way I did and for them to reward me the way they did, it’s such a blessing,” Anderson said at the time of signing a contract that runs through next season, with club options for $12.5 million and $14 million in 2023 and ’24.
The deal was one of the biggest in history for a non-international player with less than a year of service time.
Since then, the Sox signed Moncada through 2024 with a ’25 club option, Jimenez through 2024 with ’25 and ’26 club options, Luis Robert through 2025 with ’26 and ’27 club options and Aaron Bummer through 2024 with ’25 and ’26 club options to pre-arbitration contracts. They also have Jose Abreu signed through next season, Dallas Keuchel through next season with an option for ’23, Yasmani Grandal through 2023, Liam Hendriks through 2023 with an option for ’24 and Lance Lynn through ’23 with an option for ’24. Craig Kimbrel and Cesar Hernandez, acquired before the trade deadline, came with club options for next season.
Lynn, acquired in an offseason trade for Dunning, signed an extension last month.
“You look at the core, the young guys, how the team is built, and you see a good possibility over the next couple years of having a good run at a chance to win,” Lynn said, “and that’s why you play the game.”
Giolito, Kopech and Andrew Vaughn aren’t eligible for free agency for years to come, and, who knows, Haber — who plays a leading role in such contract talks — might be working on them, too.
“Every time you do a deal, it makes it more appealing for the next guy,” Haber said. “We don’t believe a roster is ever finished, so there is more work to be done.”
The Sox, who reached the playoffs for the first time in 12 seasons in 2020 and are World Series contenders this year, are built to be more than a one-trick, one-season pony.
“The plan [vice president] Kenny Williams and [general manager] Rick [Hahn] and all of us first saw was, you have to acquire and develop, but you also have to retain championship talent,” Haber said.
“If we were going to go through pain at the major-league level for several years, we wanted to come out with a five-plus-year window on the back end to try to win multiple championships.”
And with cost certainty, “you can add in the free-agent market to complement the core,” Haber said.
“We wanted this group to come to the major leagues together in waves of talent and grow up together. Last year was their first taste of the postseason as a group, but they’ll have multiple shots at winning together. That’s why a lot of guys have chosen to be in that group.”
Perhaps Vaughn, a Rookie of the Year candidate, will be next.
“You know I love the city of Chicago,” Vaughn said. “I love my role here. I love the fan base — it’s special.
“We have an unbelievable core, and the front office has done a good job of getting guys to stick around. The most important thing is this season and this game tonight.”
And, if all goes as planned, more good seasons to follow.