White Sox GM Rick Hahn is on his game
By Daryl Van Schouwen firstname.lastname@example.org July 31, 2013 12:04PM
Chicago White Sox's Assistant General Manager Rick Hahn looks out over the field from the dugout before a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers Friday, June 3, 2011 in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Updated: July 31, 2013 10:35PM
CLEVELAND — In the 10 months Rick Hahn has been on the job as general manager, he has proved to be a trustworthy steward of chairman Jerry Reinsdorf’s riches.
This is not to say Hahn is a penny-pinching accountant whose top priority is the bottom line. The best way to fix a franchise in need of a facelift from the ground up is to manage resources wisely, and Hahn already has struck gold by working out prized left-hander Chris Sale’s $32.5 million contract during spring training and moving Jake Peavy and all of the approximate $20 million left on his contract before the trade deadline.
It was Hahn who somewhat surprisingly signed Peavy to a two-year contract after the 2012 season. He did so with winning in mind.
“One thing that hasn’t changed around here certainly is the desire to win,’’ Hahn said Wednesday.
When losing was the result, Hahn altered course, and the no-trade clause he put in Peavy’s contract allowed him to unload it. Having Sale, a 24-year-old bona fide No. 1 starter, under wraps through 2017 with not one, but two, club options in 2018 and ’19 made letting go of a No. 2 such as Peavy relatively painless. If Sale is around for his option years, he’ll be paid less ($12.5 million and $13.5 million) than Peavy would have been paid next year. What’s more, Hahn has rotation depth left, all of it under control for years to come.
Those hoping to see the truck backed up didn’t get their wish. Alex Rios is still with the White Sox, signed through next season. He likely will be moved in a waiver deal or traded during the offseason to make room for Avisail Garcia. Alexei Ramirez is the shortstop, but he might be expendable this winter.
Was he close on any more deals Wednesday? Hahn said he went to the 3 p.m. wire working on a trade and even updated Reinsdorf about the talks. About who and with whom he wasn’t saying.
“It looked like there was a chance of something happening, but in the end we couldn’t quite get to an agreement,’’ he said. “They wanted something a little different right at the end and we weren’t prepared to do that.’’
Hahn, spent some time on a conference call after the deadline passed explaining what he’s been trying to accomplish in all this time leading to it.
“We’re starting to transition this club to a new core,’’ he said. “We feel we’re in a very good position with our pitching … to be competitive in the very near future. But we need to make improvements offensively. We need a more diversified offensive attack. We need better defense. We need a more athletic combination of position players on our roster. And we’ll get there. The goal is going to be for sustained success to get us on the level where we’re in the playoffs or contending for the playoffs for an extended period of time.’’
Based on the putrid 40-64 record going into the Sox game against the Indians on Wednesday, there is much work to be done.
Snagging outfielder Garcia, the Tigers’ No. 2 prospect according to Baseball America, was a good start. Garcia came in a three-way deal that also brought three lesser Red Sox prospects who make the Sox system a little bit deeper. Hahn was under no order from Reinsdorf to dump salary, so to say he traded Peavy only to save a buck doesn’t fly. But it made economic sense, and the deal strengthens a weak farm system in the process while allowing the flexibility to sign free agents during the offseason. Under no pressure to trade Peavy, Hahn reeled in an acceptable return, and he’ll never have to worry about Peavy getting hurt again.