SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — White Sox general manager Rick Hahn insists his team is one free agents will want to play for.
Superagent Scott Boras didn’t disagree Wednesday.
“They have a lot of great young talent,” Boras said on the last day of the GM meetings at Omni Resorts. “It’s a great city. Certainly players look at the White Sox in a very different way than they did two years ago, no question.”
While acknowledging that dollars will ultimately determine whether the Sox land or don’t land targeted free agents — Boras has many of the big ones including Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg and Nick Castellanos — Hahn believes the Sox’ future makes the South Side an attractive destination.
“Not just while we’re here [in Scottsdale] but over the course of the season, hearing from some guys in our clubhouse who have heard from other players around the league about what we’ve been building and what the future looks like,” Hahn said.
“We are a logical destination for premium talent.”
A young core led by Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez and Lucas Giolito suggests the Sox are going places.
“And then having [some buzz about the Sox’ future appearing to have promise] reinforced in these early conversations with some free agents,” Hahn said. “The agents will certainly tell you nice things along the way, but when you hear it directly from some the players, ‘Yeah, I see what you guys have been doing. I see where the future is headed there, and it’s exciting.’ It’s some positive reinforcement.”
Hahn declined to say what the Sox’ payroll target or budget is for 2020, but the opening day figure should climb beyond $100 million for the first time since 2016.
“There’s no great advantage in other teams knowing what flexibility may or may not be there,” Hahn said. “At this point we’re very comfortable with what the payroll target is, and it gives us plenty of latitude to make additions at this time.”
But how will the money be spent?
“We expect to be aggressive,” Hahn said.
“The longer-term plan was always that we were going to augment a solid young core with external additions and that was going to come at an economic cost.”
For what it’s worth, Boras said the Sox need veterans “because they have such great young players, and you’re trying to create that mix all the time.”
Few would disagree. It’s a tried-and-true blend that works.
“There’s a lot of fits that could go in there and really advance what they’ve built to date,” Boras said.