Riding a five-game winning streak, the Chicago White Sox are playing some of their best baseball of 2022. A "one step forward, one step back" trend resulted in .500 baseball through the first 100-plus games of the year, but the Sox still find themselves within striking distance of the Cleveland Guardians. They currently sit just one game back of first place tied with the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central.
The White Sox have somewhat quietly been one of the best teams in the American League over the last month. The South Siders' gradual ascension is also taking place without everyday shortstop Tim Anderson in the mix.
Anderson suffered a torn ligament in his hand and recently underwent surgery that will keep him out of action for approximately six weeks. In his stead, the White Sox have turned to rookie Lenyn Sosa and utility man Leury Garcia to fill the void. With the middle infield depth chart depleted with injuries to Anderson and Danny Mendick, the White Sox don't have many in-house options to address the current problem.
But sometimes a gift falls out of the sky.
Elvis Andrus is Now Available
Enter Elvis Andrus. The Oakland A's released the 33-year-old this morning, immediately making him the best available shortstop on the late-season, post-trade deadline market.
Given the aforementioned circumstances, it seemingly just makes sense for the White Sox to take a flier on Andrus.
The veteran infielder slashed .237/.301/.373 with eight home runs and seven stolen bases across 106 games with Oakland this season. He also offers a league-average glove and some veteran presence at shortstop. These are qualities that the Sox' current replacement, Lenyn Sosa, does not offer. While Sosa has shown a couple of positive flashes in his second stint with the big league club, relying on him at shortstop down the stretch probably wasn't in anyone's mind when this season started.
What is the catch? Why was Andrus released by Oakland? Well, Andrus originally had a $15 million player option for next season if he would have reached 550 plate appearances during the 2022 campaign. Apparently, after failing to move Andrus during the trade deadline, the A's had no intentions of watching the option vest.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, with his release, that option is no longer on the table. Additionally, any team that picks him up will only need to pay Andrus the prorated league minimum. Oakland will be on the hook for the remainder of his salary.
The Chicago White Sox need help at shortstop. Elvis Andrus has played decent enough baseball to warrant finishing the season with a big league club. Maybe it's a perfect match.