"He's been on me a little bit," said a smiling Anderson. "He congratulated me and said, 'Now you can take us all out to eat.'"
Anderson, 23, has plenty of reason to smile and plenty of capital for meals.
The contract stands as the most lucrative deal for a player holding less than one year of service time (115 days). Anderson hit .283 over 99 games and 410 at-bats in his 2016 rookie season. He had 37 extra-base hits, 10 stolen bases and played solid defense at shortstop.
The breakdown of the deal has Anderson receiving $850,00 in 2017, $1 million in 2018, $1.4 million in 2019, $4 million in 2020, $7.25 million in 2021 and $9.5 million in 2022. The White Sox hold club options for 2023 at $12.5 million and 2024 at $14 million. If either option is declined, Anderson will receive a $1 million buyout.
Much credit goes to the drive and determination shown by Anderson, who was selected 17th overall in the 2013 Draft as a high-ceiling athlete without a lot of baseball experience coming from East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss. Some believed Anderson would end up as a center fielder because of this combination, but Anderson never wavered from shortstop as his position and reiterated that point on the field in 2016.
"It's been my mindset," said Anderson of proving doubters wrong. "The word has been I'm not a shortstop. 'He strikes out a ton.' I definitely just blocked all that out and showed them that what I'm capable of. I know what I'm capable of. I've been putting my work in and been able to go out and perform at a high level. It has been such a blessing, just the strides I made."
"We think there's a lot of good things to come as he continues to grow as a big league player," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn. "We certainly feel he will play a very important role on this team over most of the next decade."
Hahn and assistant general manager Jeremy Haber also deserve credit for identifying yet another core player and locking him up through with cost certainty for the team as it pushes through this rebuild. Anderson would not have been arbitration eligible until at least 2020 and would not qualify for free agency until before 2023.
Chris Sale, Adam Eaton and Jose Quintana stand as previous examples of players the White Sox have extended contractually early on in their career. Much like those franchise stalwarts, Anderson could have gone year-by-year and potentially earned more later. But he discussed the deal with his family and chose the security it provided for his wife, Bria, daughter, Peyton, let alone thrilling his mother, Lucille, when he broke the news of the deal.
"For me to be able to tell my mom this, to see the smile on her face was just priceless," said Anderson, adding negotiations started about 2 1/2 weeks ago. "For them [White Sox] to make a commitment like that to me, it's such a blessing. I'm in a place where I want to be. I'm happy here. I love Chicago, especially the South Side."