ANAHEIM, Calif. – Rick Hahn feels your pain, White Sox fan.
“In a lot of ways I’m not too different from any other fan in that the ups and downs and the unmet expectations are extremely frustrating and difficult to stomach,’’ he said before the Sox tried to salvage the last of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels late Thursday night.
In other ways, Hahn says he has the benefit of trying to do something about getting the franchise back on the rails after seeing his splashy moves in the offseason get the Sox nowhere. They went into Thursday’s game at 55-63, ranking last in the American League in runs scored and sucking air trying to get into an almost unattainable wild card picture.
“It’s no doubt been a grind and tough on all of us,’’ Hahn said when asked about his personal mental state after experiencing the high of being the star at the winter meetings and something of a goat two months into the season. “We all entered this year with high hopes and high expectations and to date we have not met them yet. There’s still time to potentially meet them but that’s why we wait to the end of the year to do a state of my psychosis.’’
Just last week, the Sox were sweeping the Angels. This week they were in jeopardy of being swept by the same team. It’s been that kind of maddening year.
“It’s been emblematic of our season in terms of up and down, showing nice spurts and signs of life and consistency in certain areas and then not being able to maintain it,’’ Hahn said.
While the last month and half may yet factor into offseason decisions, manager Robin Ventura and most of his staff, who have another year left on their contracts, for the most part appear to be safe. Ventura is known to have the backing of chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, and Hahn has voiced support as well. When asked about Ventura Thursday, Hahn seemed to be saying the manager, like everyone else – players included – need to be better. He also said he hasn’t been bad enough to be replaced.
“Look, I think we’re all disappointed, Robin included about where we sit right now and we’re going to have to go in the offseason and evaluate everyone in terms of are we putting ourselves in the best position to succeed,’’ Hahn said. “If we felt it made sense to make a change we would have made a change in any position whether it’s a player on the field, the staff or the manager. So obviously that can happen and going forward we’ll have to wait for the offseason and evaluate all of us.’’
Hahn is more than satisfied that Ventura has kept the focus in the clubhouse on winning that day’s game “and doing everything in their power to put us in the best position to help us win.’’
“Any questions on the staff, myself, others, everyone, that’s all in the future,’’ Hahn said. “We’re focused on the here and now and winning tonight’s game. Anything in terms of personnel changes, players, staff, coaches, front office, whatever, will wait for the offseason.’’
While the trade for Jeff Samardzija and free-agent signings of Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche and David Robertson last offseason seemed to patch up most every need on the roster, the team’s failures exposed weakness on the 25-man unit as well as a thin farm system that couldn’t come to the rescue, especially with high-impact position players.
Perhaps Hahn will be moved to part with a key piece of his pitching rotation this offseason. Stay tuned.
“The strength of the system is obviously pitching and at the big league level,’’ Hahn said. “Knock on wood, over the course of the first five months of the season, most of our issues have been on the offensive side of things. Come the offseason it may be something we have to look at as sort of reallocating some of those assets to address player position needs.’’