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White Sox GM Rick Hahn sounds ready to begin breaking up team

The Pirates have been rumored be interested trading for White Sox outfielder Alex Rios. | Paul Beaty~AP

The Pirates have been rumored to be interested in trading for White Sox outfielder Alex Rios. | Paul Beaty~AP

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Updated: August 2, 2013 7:29AM



White Sox general manager Rick Hahn didn’t want his first season on the job to be about dismantling the team, but being in last place in the American League Central will demand it.

Hahn all but admitted as much Sunday, acknowledging the Sox’ dismal play has put the wheels in motion for the team to be a seller this month. No one will be untouchable if a strong proposal comes that would strengthen the Sox’ future.

‘‘As a general philosophy, I don’t think we’re doing our job if we don’t listen to other people’s ideas about every player in the organization that they want to talk about,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘That doesn’t mean there aren’t some players who are extraordinarily difficult to acquire, but you have to evaluate on an
ongoing basis. . . . What is the value of the players you have?’’

For a team struggling in every facet of the game, that means even ace left-hander Chris Sale — arguably the most valuable player on the Sox — could change uniforms in the right deal.

The reality of the situation isn’t lost on the players.

‘‘There’s always so many distractions as it is every day; that’s part of being a big-leaguer,’’ captain Paul Konerko said. ‘‘You’ve got to try and block those out and get ready to play. There’s no doubt going to be a lot of talk. There’s a lot of distractions . . . and this will just be one more thing.

‘‘It doesn’t take a genius to think of the guys that we have. Anybody that’s older that’s coming up on their last year or is making money is in that conversation that Rick is talking about, whether it’s a Jesse Crain or a Matt Lindstrom or an Adam Dunn, myself, anybody. [But] I don’t see at any time any of those guys bringing their situation or uncomfortableness with it into the picture of the game that day.’’

Hahn has tried to avoid addressing the growing rumors about
coming trades, saying he wants the focus to remain on trying to get the Sox to turn things around. But he said he will be realistic in assessing the team.

‘‘Obviously, we’ve seen everything you’ve seen,’’ he said. ‘‘We’ve felt the frustration the fans have felt. The players have felt the disgust the fans have felt at times, and we’re very cognizant of how we’ve played. So if that [turnaround] does not happen, you will see some changes.

‘‘We’re not going to delude ourselves. We’re not going to wish-cast our performance the rest of the year. We’re going to respond to how we perform and make the adjustments when the time calls for it.’’

Hahn said he already has been receiving calls ‘‘at a healthy pace’’ for several weeks.

‘‘I think that’s part of the reason you’re seeing the rumors out there,’’ he said. ‘‘Some are more accurate than others, but the more different clubs that are involved in having trade talks, the more likely it is that information is going to leak out there.’’

Those rumors have included outfielder Alex Rios drawing interest from the Pittsburgh Pirates, infielder Jeff Keppinger drawing interest from the New York Yankees and Crain drawing interest from any number of teams.

Hahn wouldn’t put a timetable on when talks might accelerate, saying some teams choose to wait until the deadline to make their best offers. But he admitted he never anticipated what has happened to the Sox this season.

‘‘We entered the 2013 season thinking we had a very solid shot in competing in the division and winning the division,’’ he said. ‘‘Obviously, the performance to date has changed my opinion on that.’’



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