Anderson seeks trade, everyday opportunity
Outfielder looking for change of scenery to prove himself
CHICAGO -- Brian Anderson wants to be traded.
Almost immediately after reading this sentence, one can imagine the collective rolling of the eyes or snickers coming from the general White Sox fan base. Through his .225 career average over 782 at-bats, Anderson hasn't exactly put himself in position to make demands.
Before passing judgment on Anderson, though, remember this is not a five-year veteran, hitting just .238 with 13 RBIs in 2009, demanding a move because he doesn't like the organization, or because he has been treated unfairly.
Instead, this is a story about a 27-year-old, a former 15th-overall selection for the White Sox in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, who wants a full-out, full-time chance to prove himself. Anderson just doesn't see that situation playing out with the White Sox, a sentiment he expressed to Ken Williams during a constructive phone call with the general manager after Anderson was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on Monday.
"I genuinely believe that if they are presented with the right opportunity, if they could get something fair, they will give me the opportunity to go play elsewhere," Anderson told MLB.com late Wednesday night. "I had a very good talk with Kenny and got on the same page.
"A guy at my age, I told him, and not that I've turned heads by any means offensively, but I need to play every day and be an everyday big leaguer. I have more to offer. If it's not with the White Sox, then maybe it really is time for a change."
Anderson was sent to Charlotte prior to Monday's series opener against the Rays in order to make room for All-Star left fielder Carlos Quentin, who returned from his Minor League rehab assignment and was activated from the disabled list. The White Sox moved Scott Podsednik from left field to center, as fully expected, but kept left-handed-hitting Wise in reserve over Anderson.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen felt that he could do more things with Wise, but the team also risked losing him because Wise was out of options. When asked Monday if he thought Anderson needed a change of scenery, Guillen responded that it was time for Anderson "to start playing better."
It's a sentiment which Anderson understands and wholeheartedly agrees with. While Anderson wants a daily chance to play somewhere in the Majors, whether he's 0-for-20 or 10-for-20 at the dish, he readily acknowledges that the situation he's in stems from his own shortcomings at the plate.
"Nobody goes up and bats for me," Anderson said. "I get a hit or I get out. Once I step into the box, it's all on me from there. I'm not pointing a finger at anyone else but myself.
"At the same time, I thought to myself, 'What's the best-case scenario with the White Sox?' I go to Triple-A, do well and come back up in the same role.
"As much as this is a team game, I have to look out for myself from a career standpoint. So, it's best to make a change and move on and hopefully start fresh somewhere else and part ways respectfully. But I love those guys and wish them the best."
Of course, Anderson remains a full-fledged member of the White Sox organization. He reports to the Knights on Thursday, carrying nothing but a positive attitude, knowing he'll be next in line for a return to the Majors if something happens to a White Sox outfielder.
The hope for Anderson is that he's starting somewhere else in the next few weeks. But Williams also hopes that Anderson takes full advantage of this latest demotion.
"He understands that he's kind of at the crossroads, but he also understands I still have a tremendous amount of faith in his ability," said Williams, who deferred to his coaching staff's opinions when making the roster move. "I really believe that if he can just get back to having fun and let all that athletic ability come out, you are not talking about a bench or role player.
"You are talking about an everyday guy, I still believe that. He has to get back to how he came into the organization, kind of care free, and let the ability supersede the technical and fundamental parts.
"That's where you will see great success for him. His talent will just flow. Whatever the pressures have been, being a first-round pick, the great expectations, Brian hasn't done what he wanted. So, let it all go, go out and have fun and let the talent come out. It's in there, and we're not giving up on him."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.