ARLINGTON, Texas — General manager Rick Hahn met with reporters before the White Sox opened a three-game series against the Texas Rangers with a 15-2 loss on Tuesday night. The Sox (23-27) have been a disappointment 50 games into the season. Here’s what he had to say:
About the team’s shaky defense
“It’s gone back and forth a lot. I think we’ve been all over the board in terms of our defensive play and there’s been a fair amount of inconsistency. A lot has been made of the miscues, which have been disappointing and certainly frustrating. At the same time, we won that game on Sunday in large part thanks to Johnny Danks’ pitching but also what the defense did behind him. Similarly, a lot of debate about baserunning struggles and that first game in Baltimore I would argue we won because Beckham broke up that double play and got us a third one, which we obviously needed. So you see the solid defense, you see the heads up baserunning. It just hasn’t been there as nearly consistently as we need it to be. I’m encouraged by the positive signs we’ve seen in recent days in both those regards. This could’ve been a meat grinder of a road trip and we’re coming off a stretch of 18 games in 17 days, the majority of it on the road and historically tough ballparks for us to play in. Certainly we’re not throwing any parades that we’ve gone 9-9 in that stretch, but that’s pretty good work for what that schedule laid out ahead of us. Our off day allowed us a chance here to regroup, get everybody back fresh and now we hope to continue to play well and make some noise.
About Carlos Sanchez, who has played good defense while hitting x since taking over for Micah Johnson at second base
“We brought him here with the expectation he was going to help stabilize the infield defense. I think he’s absolutely done that and he’s lived up to our expectations in that regard. Hitting out of the nine hole in the lineup, it’s not on him to carry the offense, so to speak. He got a couple key hits along the way, he’s grinded out a few at-bats and he’s shown you he can be a tough out. As he gets more comfortable at this level you’re going to see more and more of that. But really his job, his first job here was to help stabilize the defense and I think he’s followed through on that.”
The starting rotation
“Guys have pitched deep into games. They’ve given us a chance to win just about every time out there. And actually during that tough stretch, it’s benefited the bullpen by eating up more of those innings and putting less of a burden on them. So from the front end being what we expected when we put them in their spots to Carlos [Rodon] at the back end stepping up and responding to the opportunities he’s been given, we’ve certainly been real pleased with where the rotation is right now.”
It’s still early, right?
I don’t know if you would classify it as early. It’s still early in the season. We still have over 110 games left at this point. At the same time, we want to start seeing more of the consistency we’ve seen in terms of the upside of our performance, some of the guys with the track record we expect them to eventually reach very likely will get going or will continue to get going over the next few weeks, and that’s only going to help us in the long run. There certainly is plenty of time to put ourselves back in the position to win this thing, which was our goal from the start.”
About a contingency plan if he goes into seller’s mode at the trade deadline:
“We have to. The marching orders for our scouts heading out of spring training was looking at our positions of need at the big-league level and targeting guys to help shore those up for a stretch run. At the same time, we have our pro scouts out at the minor-league level preparing for, should we need to go the other way, and look at more prospect-focused deals. At this point, our intent is to look to add at the deadline and put ourselves in a better position to win.
“We want to stay nimble enough that we can adapt with the more information we have than based upon where we are come mid-July. That said if the right opportunity presented itself now to make this big league club better, we’d move on it. It’s not really the time of year where a lot of clubs are looking to do that. Obviously the amateur draft is coming up. That’s sort of a milestone where most teams are focused on getting through that and then turn the page toward preparation for the trade deadline.“It’s certainly conceivable that activity will pick up over the coming weeks. We aren’t quite at that point yet.”Lack of consistency — and coaching staff addressing that
“In some ways, the physical errors aren’t too different from a hitting slump in that you are going to struggle at times from a rhythm standpoint and defensively. The poor decision making is tougher, and that has required more time from Robin and his staff in terms of addressing individually or as a group in terms of what we’re trying to accomplish. But it’s all been handled, I believe. It’s all been addressed, and it’s going to continue to be addressed if the problems persist, but again I think there’s been over the last several weeks a lot to be encouraged by in each of the important elements. We’re not to the point where we want to be yet, but we feel the arrow’s pointing up. We’ve gotten some more consistency here over the last few weeks, on the good side of things.”