White Sox general manager Rick Hahn says he, vice president Ken Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf “have a sense of what we want to do” this offseason and, disputing speculation the front office triumvirate wasn’t on the same page before the trade deadline, said they “are of a similar mindset” as to what exactly that is as the team plays out what could be its fourth consecutive losing season.
“We’ve had a number of conversations about the best way to approach the offseason and what we want to accomplish,’’ Hahn said Thursday.
Most signs point to an offseason rebuild that could involve trading premium assets such as All-Star left-handers Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. With too few young position players on the roster and no impact prospects coming soon from the farm system, Sale or Quintana – or both — could bring a significant haul in return. Both are under contract control for multiple seasons and their value will be heightened by a thin free agent market for pitching.
“Everything is on the table. Absolutely,’’ Hahn said, talking to reporters in the Sox dugout before the 60-65 team opened a four-game series against the playoff-contending Seattle Mariners.
Hahn, Williams and Reinsford are “looking at every angle how best to get ourselves in a sustainable position going forward, and that includes the extreme of going to a rebuild.’’ He’s not tipping his hand about which direction they’re leaning out of respect for the current team and staff but Hahn said “by the time we make our first or second transaction, publicly it will be fairly clear as to our direction. And while we aren’t going to say ‘next on our list is this’ it will be obvious what we’re trying to accomplish.’’
Manager Robin Ventura’s contract is up after the season, as well as most of his staff, and Hahn said that won’t be addressed till season’s end.
“That’s the most appropriate time whether it’s manager, coaching staff, scouts, front office, announcements of extensions or whatever, all that stuff is going to wait,’’ Hahn said.
Sources indicated Reinsdorf wasn’t sold on a rebuilding plan before the Aug. 1 trade deadline, and the Sox made only one deal at the time, trading lefthander Zach Duke for outfield prospect Charlie Tilson. But Reinsdorf, 80, who has almost always attempted to field a team capable of winning now, may be changing his tune.
“There also comes a point where there is a level of frustration with the way things have played out over the last couple of years,’’ Hahn said of Reinsdorf’s viewpoint. “There are different approaches and I’m not saying (a rebuild) is the route we’re going to go but I assure you there is absolute openness from Jerry, Kenny, myself. Everyone in that front office is looking for the best path to get us on an extended period of success even if that involves a short-term step-back.”
Hahn said it’s “frustrating” having to address speculation he and Williams are not on the same page, a popular talk-show topic which prompted Reinsdorf to make a phone call to a host to say the three are in “lock-step” and a Sox spokesman to characterize the talk as “absolute nonsense.”
“The fact of the matter is I have no idea where a unnamed random report of any discord at the deadline came from,’’ Hahn said. “It’s simply untrue. There was no trade or direction of whatever it was described as vetoed, so to speak, at the deadline. We are of a similar mindset as to how best to proceed.’’
Hahn, promoted from assistant GM to GM when Williams was bumped up to team vice president before the 2013 season, said he’s been involved in every major decision made in the last 16 years.
“And that’s involved sitting down with both Kenny and Jerry and having an open dialogue and exchange of ideas and coming to what we felt was the best decision as a group,’’ he said. “I would not have taken the position of general manager if I didn’t think it was a recipe for us to have success as a group’’