New Sox GM Rick Hahn prepared to part with Peavy, Pierzynski
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org October 26, 2012 10:30PM
As Rick Hahn (left) slides into the Sox’ GM role, Ken Williams moves up to executive VP. | David Banks~Getty Images
Updated: November 28, 2012 6:13AM
One of Rick Hahn’s first duties as general manager of the White Sox is to address free agency — in particular, the status of catcher A.J. Pierzynski and right-hander Jake Peavy and the expensive club option on third baseman Kevin Youkilis and right-handers Brett Myers and Gavin Floyd.
‘‘You have to prioritize,’’ Hahn said after being introduced to succeed Ken Williams — who was named the Sox’ executive vice president — at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday. ‘‘You’d prefer the option was at a reasonable price and it’s good value, but it’s not the case in all of these.’’
Peavy has a $22 million option that won’t be picked up, so the Sox would bring him back only if the price suits both sides. Youkilis’ option is $13 million, Myers’ is $10 million and Floyd’s $9.5 million. All but Floyd have buyouts.
Hahn expects payroll to be close to last season’s — around $97 million. He expects Peavy to get a big offer elsewhere, which could price him out of the Sox’ plans.
‘‘Look, there aren’t a lot of free-agent pitchers out there,’’ said Hahn, who has had initial talks with Peavy’s agent. ‘‘There is a fair amount of money, perhaps, to be spent by other clubs, so [Peavy’s] going to be a challenge.’’
Pierzynski had lunch with chairman Jerry Reinsdorf after the season, and Hahn has been talking to agents, including Pierzynski’s agent, Steve Hilliard, last week.
‘‘It was a good dialogue,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘We’ll stay in touch. Until he gets out there and sees what his market is and we explore alternatives and other ways to spend our money, it’s impossible to handicap.’’
Hahn said he views backup Tyler Flowers as a viable every-day option in Pierzynski’s place.
‘‘We’re meeting next week as an organization, and that’s one of the topics,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘Based on the history we’ve had with him, he’ll be a quality, every-day catcher in the big leagues, yes. It’s tough for a young kid to have sporadic playing time and continue that development. But defensively, he certainly can handle the position. He can get on base some, and he’s going to have some power. I think he will be a valuable and viable catcher in the big leagues.’’
Flowers suffered a hairline fracture near a knuckle on his left hand late in the season, which kept him from playing winter ball. Hahn said Flowers will be ready for the start of spring training.
Hahn’s promotion to GM, which Williams suggested years ago, has been in serious planning stages since last November. The impending move was reported in September, so there were few surprises Friday.
While Hahn will sign off with Williams and Reinsdorf on major decisions, he is running the operation. He needed to be clear on that before accepting the promotion from Reinsdorf, who called Hahn ‘‘one of the most respected young executives in baseball.’’
‘‘That was important,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘. . . making sure it wasn’t just an escalation in titles and business as usual. Kenny made that clear from the start, and we had to talk things through and go through different scenarios. It took a few months of going back and forth.’’
One topic of discussion at the organizational meetings in Phoenix on Nov. 3 will be the starting rotation and whether the Sox can plan on four left-handers: Chris Sale, John Danks, Jose Quintana and Hector Santiago. Floyd or Myers likely be back as a right-hander, especially if Peavy doesn’t return.
Hahn has been an assistant to Williams since Williams became GM in 2000. Williams has the best winning percentage of any Sox GM and was baseball’s fourth-longest-tenured GM.
‘‘You can’t say enough about Ken Williams’ value to the White Sox, his contributions to our success and the passion he brings to the ballpark every day,’’ Reinsdorf said in a statement.
In one other announcement, Howard Pizer, the Sox’ executive vice president, was named senior executive vice president.