Seated in the White Sox’ dugout while players loosened their arms under bright sunshine in the outfield, Rick Hahn didn’t have the dour look of a general manager whose team is off to its worst start in more than two decades.
Hahn’s disposition remains sunny despite the Sox’ 4-12 record because what has unfolded on the South Side is all part of the process.
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“Obviously, we haven’t been thrilled with the wins and losses,” Hahn said before the Sox fell to the Astros 10-0 on Friday night. “As an organization, we haven’t shied away from the fact that we’re two years into a rebuild right now and that there are going to be difficult stretches and that there are going to be growing pains. That said, we’re all competitors, we’re all watching these games and wanting to see the team battle through and come out ahead, and when we don’t it’s frustrating.”
Instead of focusing on the negatives — and there have been plenty, ranging from a starting staff that has been wildly inconsistent, to an offense that has been mostly in hibernation since scoring 14 runs against the Royals on Opening Day — Hahn is keeping close tabs on the progress of the organization’s rebuild and accentuating the positives on the roster. Those feel-good stories include the flashes of brilliance from Yoan Moncada and Reynaldo Lopez, the plate discipline exhibited by Tim Anderson and Matt Davidson and the resurgence of reliever Bruce Rondon.
But that’s about it.
“Emotionally, it’s probably good that we are able to focus on that long-term picture and continuing to build through the minors and the amateur additions that may be coming in the coming weeks,” Hahn said. “But it doesn’t in the end take away from any disappointment you might feel on a nightly basis when you don’t end up winning that ballgame.”
Eleven losses in 13 games before taking the field against the Astros on a chilly — but bearable — night at Guaranteed Rate Field weren’t enough to have manager Rick Renteria forget about the rebuilding process, either.
“From the perspective that the win-loss record is indicative or a tell of who you are or not, do I wish we had more wins in the column? Absolutely,” Renteria said. “Can I use that solely as the indicator of who we are? Not necessarily. I mean, look at all the factors that are involved in what goes on [on] a day-to-day basis. Winning is ultimately the end goal. Make no mistake about it, there are no players on that field, young or old, that want to come to a ballgame and lose. They want to win. They know how important it is for us currently [and] they know how important it is for the future.
“We go about our game every single day trying to get ready to win a ballgame,” Renteria added. “At the end of the day, that’s what we’re going to be measured by. We are where we are right now.”
Right now, that is a team that continues to have some serious growing pains.
“We have to remind ourselves, there are going to be 15-game stretches that are going to be frustrating like the last 15,” Hahn said. “There are also going to be some that are going to be a little better than expected here over the course of the summer. When we inevitably go through another tough 15-game stretch, we’re probably going to have to reiterate a lot of what I’ve been saying since the end of last season about … what our broader, long-term goals are.”