Sox’ Hahn starting to get trade calls, but not ready to deal
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org June 18, 2013 10:57PM
Updated: July 20, 2013 6:56AM
MINNEAPOLIS — Contenders needing a relief pitcher here, an outfielder there or maybe a proven player to stick in the middle of their infield see a season slipping away from the White Sox. They know general manager Rick Hahn has been thinking about what to do with his team for some time now.
Does he sell or does he buy as the trade deadline approaches at the end of July? Odds strongly favor Hahn dealing valuable pieces for prospects or young players — the Sox went into their game against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night with the second-to-worst record in the American League, trailing the Tigers by 91/2 games in the Central Division — but Hahn’s not quite ready to go there.
Fellow GMs are giving him stuff to think about, though.
“Given the way we’ve played, it’s not a surprise that we’ve had the vulture-type phone calls that traditionally we’re more accustomed to making,” said Hahn, talking in the visitors’ dugout at Target Field before Tuesday’s game. “But that’s part of the hole we’ve dug for ourselves, that teams are going to look at us as potential sellers when the deadline comes, and they’re starting to lay some of the groundwork now.”
The obvious pieces to move are players whose contracts are up after the season. Relievers Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton come to mind, and reliever Matt Lindstrom, shortstop Alexei Ramirez, outfielder Alex Rios and right-hander Jake Peavy, though under control beyond next season, are also attractive options. Asked if anyone is untouchable, including 25-year-old All-Star Chris Sale, Hahn declined to be dragged into the hypothetical trap of naming names.
Sale’s named has surfaced in rumor mills but without much substance, because Hahn has a young core of pitchers he believes can win soon. Plus, Sale has a long-term $32.5 million deal that isn’t costing the Sox an arm and a leg, relatively speaking, for a pitcher of his caliber.
Hahn is surprised that he’s even talking about having to fix things in the middle of June. He is disappointed and frustrated with the team’s performance, and he knows he’s not alone.
“I know there’s frustration in the clubhouse,’’ he said. “There’s obviously frustration among fans, among staff. But we do have a fair amount of time left to get this thing right. We’ve been saying that for a while now, and it is obviously time to get going if we’re going to make that run.’’
Hahn said he’s fine with the how the team has prepared for each game. He continues to back manager Robin Ventura and his staff and believes a turnaround is imminent.
“I know guys are trying,’’ he said. “I do fear when you’ve had an extended skid like we’ve had, guys do start pressing, and that makes it a little difficult to come out of this skid. It’s tough when you’re not executing defensively and not scoring runs. You’re asking a lot of your pitching staff. To their credit, they’ve put us in a position to win. Offensively, we know there’s more that’s there. And defensively, we’ve seen this team get better defensively. It’s just a matter of turning it around at some point.”
And if they don’t?
“If we get to that point, we’re going to be pretty popular,’’ Hahn said. “We already have received a fair amount of phone calls and I suspect that will continue unless we turn this thing around and start being the ones on the dialing end of things looking to pickoff other club’s valuable players. But if we get to that point, I think we’ll be fairly popular at the deadline.’’