Spring training is well underway and there are three exhibition games -- the first three exhibition games of the year -- on the schedule Friday. Cactus League and Grapefruit League play begins in earnest Saturday. Until there, here are the latest hot stove happenings.
Anderson hopes for extension with White Sox
All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson hopes to sign a long-term extension with the White Sox, he told MLB.com earlier this week. Anderson, 30 in June, will make $12.5 million in 2023, and his contract includes a $14 million club option ($1 million buyout) for 2024. Assuming that is picked up, he will reach free agency at age 31 after the 2024 season. From MLB.com:
"I'm on two option years, and we let it get here and it's like, dang, I kind of want to know where my feet are going to be at the next whatever years it is and I want to know where I'm going to be at," Anderson told MLB.com during a Wednesday interview. "I'm so comfortable where I'm at now. I'm kind of just really anxious to see what it is, and I would rather be comfortable as quick as I can.
"I have a lot of things that are going on with kids and just family. Being comfortable is huge for me. No, I'm not promoting 'pay me.' It's just that's what's really going on. Everybody knows I want to be here. It's no secret."
These past two offseasons have been very kind to shortstops. Javier Báez, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Dansby Swanson, and Trea Turner have signed contracts worth a combined $1.597 billion, and that doesn't include Correa's two failed $300-plus million deals with the Giants and Mets. Marcus Semien signed for $175 million as a second baseman as well.
That said, Anderson will be older than those shortstops when he becomes a free agent after next season, plus he has a tendency to be error prone at short. That will cut into his earning potential. Still, Anderson is one of the best hitters for average in the sport at a time when getting a simple base hit is really hard. If the White Sox do not extend him, he'll be in demand in two years.
Mariners sign Calhoun
The Mariners have signed veteran outfielder Kole Calhoun to a minor league contract, the team announced. The 35-year-old spent last season with the Rangers, where he slashed .196/.257/.330 with 12 home runs. His defense, which was once Gold Glove-caliber, has slipped with age, though he remains a solid enough defender.
Taylor Trammell will miss the first few weeks of the season with a fractured bone in his hand, meaning the Mariners will rely on erstwhile top prospect Jarred Kelenic and utility guys Dylan Moore and Sam Haggerty in left field. Calhoun is a little added depth, plus a minor league deal with a spring training invite is zero risk. The Mariners can see where he's at and go from there. Calhoun needs to spend another 42 days on an MLB roster to reach 10 years of service time and lock in the full pension.