clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

White Sox GM Hahn under no pressure to deal at Winter Meetings

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said he is under no pressure to make a deal at the Winter meetings in San Diego next week.

“Oh, absolutely not,” Hahn said Friday.

Hahn has already added reliever Zach Duke and first baseman Adam LaRoche, signed for $15 million and $25 million, respectively, last month. He needs at least one more bullpen arm, a right-handed starter and has room on the field to make his team more athletic, better defensively and perhaps offensively as well. If that doesn’t happen soon, so be it.

“What’s important is getting that player under control prior to Opening Day and having him for the entire season,” Hahn said. “If we are able to make multiple moves over the next week or so, that’s fantastic. We are going to be prepared and eager to get the right things done.

“If for whatever reason we leave San Diego without having converted on any targets, that’s fine as well. Again, there’s nothing magical of getting anything done in the Winter Meetings. It’s about getting the right deal done when the time is right.”

That said, Hahn can see the pace of trade and free-agent activity picking up this week and he wouldn’t mind being part of the action next week.

“We are poised to have a fairly exciting week in terms of various moves around the league and hopefully that extends to some of our moves lining up in that time frame as well,” he said.

The dominos have yet to fall yet in the free-agent market for starting pitching. Jon Lester could get the ball rolling at the top tier of available, mega-dollar starters, but Max Scherzer and agent Scott Boras figure to wait. If the Sox go the free-agent route, the mid-level pool has plenty of choices, including names like Brandon McCarthy, Justin Masterson, Kyle Kendrick, Jason Hammel and Edinson Volquez, to name a handful.

The temptation to trade prospects for a “rent-a-starter” such as Jeff Samardzija exists because a top-of-the-rotation piece like him would put the Sox in a much stronger position to contend next year. But Samardzija becomes a free agent after next season. If Hahn, one of many GMs known to have discussed Samardzija, is keeping the dialogue open with the A’s he isn’t tipping his hand.

“Primarily, ideally, we are addressing things for the long term,” Hahn said. “We are acquiring players we can add to this young core [Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton, Avisail Garcia et al] we have been able to assemble over the last year-plus and have control of for the next extended period of time.

“We are certainly open to short-term fits that makes us better in 2015. Ideally it’s acquisitions that fit the longer term and we have to take it on a case-by-case basis in terms of players who aren’t necessarily going to be under control for the same three, four or five [year] window we’ve been focused on for the last year and a half.”

An upgrade in left field, where Dayan Viciedo provides a diminishing commodity in baseball — right-handed power — but poor contact rates and defense, seems possible.

“It’s just a matter of finding the right fit for him on this club or assessing the value that’s out there for him,” Hahn said.

Free agents Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus, whom vice president Ken Williams has tried to get in the past, are out there. The Dodgers have a surplus of outfielders and will almost certainly move Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford and are willing to eat some of Kemp’s contract that has five years and $107 million remaining.

The Sox, who haven’t reached the postseason since 2008 and have seen attendance drop each year since 2006, finished in fourth place in the AL Central with a 73-89 record, 10 fewer losses than the previous season — Hahn’s first as GM. They are more than a player or two away from contending in a tough division but they have the wherewithal to continue climbing, and Hahn likes where he’s are at going to San Diego, with most of the offseason still in front of him.

“We certainly feel good about it,” he said. “A year ago, at this time having just added basically [Garcia] at the trade deadline and Abreu a few weeks prior to the Meetings, we felt we had two potential pillars that were going to be around for a while. At this time, now as we look back, we’ve got [leadoff man and center fielder] Eaton. We have Quintanta [under club control through 2020]. We’ve been able to draft [No. 3 overall] Carlos Rodon and the develop guys like [hard-throwing minor league right-hander] Frankie Montas and [second baseman] Micah Johnson. We certainly feel better today than we did a year ago.”

NOTE: The Sox hope to reach a minor-league deal with left-hander Scott Snodgress, who was non-tendered last week to clear a spot on the Sox’ 40-man roster.