White Sox GM Rick Hahn says team doesn’t feel pressure to make a move
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Rick Hahn has meetings with agents and fellow general managers lined up for Tuesday. Whether anything comes of it, well, stay tuned.
“We do feel that some of the options we like are starting to come close to making a decision, whether it be via free agency or via trade,” Hahn said Monday, the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. “And if we want to move forward, that very well may have to come to a head in the coming days. But we certainly don’t feel any pressure that we have to make a move.’’
Hahn talked to media after meeting with the Sox brain trust, including Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
“We had everybody in to talk about different scenarios,’’ he said. “We did have a couple of conversations with other clubs and agents already today. I think being here, there’s a sort of heightened energy and expectation and everyone is here in the same place.’’
Hahn said other GMs have been asking about his pitching, which could be characterized as deep by most standards, especially in the starting rotation. Gavin Floyd is thought to be expendable, although Jake Peavy is the only other right-handed starter in the rotation. While center fielder Alejandro De Aza’s and second baseman Gordon Beckham’s names haven’t churned rumor mills, it’s not out of the question that they could be traded in a deal that makes sense. The Sox did re-sign veteran center fielder Dewayne Wise, perhaps as a safety net.
Hahn wasn’t tipping his hand. Asked if was close on any moves, he said, “You know what I compare it to? It’s like with my wife. She doesn’t care where I travel to. I’m either home or not home. So either the [deal] is done or not done. It’s not close. We’re not on the doorstep. We’re not on the cusp of announcing something. It’s either done or not done. Right now, nothing is done.”
The Sox top priority is solidyfing third base. They are mapping out numerous scenarios in the event Kevin Youkilis is not re-signed.
They are prepared to move on with Tyler Flowers as the No. 1 catcher if free agent fan favorite A.J. Pierzynski signs elsewhere. Hahn talked up Flowers’ ability on Monday.
“I don’t think we’re going to lose anything defensively or the ability to stick to the game plan,’’ he said. “Our pitchers like throwing to Tyler. Our coaches are comfortable with him sticking to the plan and he gets it. He’s worked hard at that over the years.
“When we acquired Tyler he was viewed as a offense-first guy. Would he be able to catch? He then, for a little bit there in the minors, swung that around 180 degrees and everyone was thrilled with how he was catching and throwing and the bat suffered a little bit. We really don’t feel we’re going to lose anything defensively or with handling of the pitching staff, which is obviously a huge part and it’s something A.J. got a lot of credit for. So it’s a high standard we think he can live up to with what AJ’s reputation was.’’
The big loss will be Pierzynski’s bat.
“Offensively, it’s going to be different,’’ Hahn said, who then slowed down and cautioned that Pierzynski isn’t gone yet. “We’re not there yet. I sort of feel like we’re almost a week or two ahead of this conversation in terms of what Tyler is going to be if he’s the everyday catcher. Let’s see what happens with A.J. first. But Tyler is going to get on base, he’s going to hit with some power. He’s going to strike out a lot more than A.J., the batting average is going to probably be lower. But he’s still going to be a pretty solid offensive player and I think better than what you saw in 2012 because it’s tough with sporadic play time and young player.’’