GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox are so confident in Tim Anderson they've given him the largest contract ever for a player with less than one year of service time.
Designated a key cog in the club's rebuild, the second-year shortstop could remain with the White Sox through 2024 after he signed a contract extension on Tuesday that guarantees him $25 million over six seasons. The deal for Anderson, who was worth 2.8 Wins Above Replacement in 2016, according to baseball-reference.com, could total $50.5 million as it includes club options for 2023 and 2024 that total $26.5 million with a $1 million buyout.
"I'm in a place where I want to be," Anderson said. "I'm happy here. I love Chicago, especially the South Side.
"I made a commitment to be here, and I love being here."
The 17th overall pick of the 2013 draft, Anderson concluded a quick rise through the White Sox farm system when he debuted on June 10 last season. Despite his limited overall experience, Anderson — who was recruited more for basketball before he was drafted out of East Central Community College — had starred at every level along the way and convinced the White Sox he was ready to take over in the majors.
He didn't disappoint, either.
Anderson doubled to left field off Kansas City's Ian Kennedy in his first plate appearance and never slowed down. He hit .283/.306/.432 with nine home runs, 30 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 431 plate appearances.
Anderson also exceeded expectations defensively. Depending on which scout you talked to, Anderson had questions to answer about his glove. But he not only showed quickness and extensive range, Anderson boasted a strong arm and good hands. He produced six Defensive Runs Saved and a 6.3 Ultimate Zone Rating, according to fangraphs.com.
[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]
"We're obviously thrilled," general manager Rick Hahn said. "We think there's a lot of good things to come as he continues to grow as a big league player. We certainly feel he will play a very important role on this team over most of the next decade. We're happy to have him under control for the next eight seasons."
Anderson — who wouldn't have been arbitration eligible until at least 2020 — has been so good that Hahn nearly placed him on the untouchable list this offseason. Having dealt Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, Hahn said he'd discuss deals any of his players but also suggested that Anderson and pitcher Carlos Rodon weren't available.
Anderson is set to earn $850,000 this season. He'll make $1 million in 2018, $1.4 million in 2019 and gets a bump to $4 million in 2020. In the fifth year of his deal, Anderson will make $7.25 million, and he'll receive $9.5 million in 2022. The contact includes club options for $12.5 million in 2023 and $14 million in 2024 with a $1 million buyout.
It's the fifth time in four years that the White Sox have locked a young player up to a team-friendly deal. The team extended Sale in 2013, Jose Quintana in 2014 and Eaton in 2015. All those contracts were signed in spring training. The White Sox also extended Nate Jones in December 2015.
While the contracts afforded each player financial security at a young age, it also made them far more enticing to other teams when the White Sox began their rebuild in December. The trades of Sale and Eaton have stocked the White Sox farm system with more young talent than it has had since the turn of the century. With potentially four years left on his deal, Quintana continues to draw heavy interest on the trade market and it's believed a return package for the 2016 All-Star pitcher would nearly equal the gargantuan packages the White Sox got for Sale and Eaton.
"It was certainly a benefit when it came time to trade them," Hahn said. "The size of the return we got was influenced by the size of the contracts we were under and the added control that came with them. We stand here today and fully intend for Tim to be here and be part of that next championship core. We've obviously still got work to do in putting that together."
Anderson returned to the lineup on Wednesday night after a three-day absence which he attributed to experiencing personal problems on Monday. The team held him out of action for the final two days as the deal was finalized.
Anderson, who said he was glad to return to action, had an RBI triple in the first inning of a game against the Texas Rangers at Surprise, Ariz.
"It's a blessing to be able to get it done," Anderson said. "Now I can go out and play and have fun. It's been a hectic few days. We know we were able to agree on something, and now it's just about having fun now."