``Gut wrenching season’’ for Hahn means off season work ahead

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White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has gone through “a gut-wrenching season” as his fans have. But he already is looking ahead to how to improve his team through trades and possible free agent acquisitions.

“We have work to do, especially on the position player side of things,” he said Monday.“The two main avenues outside of the farm system are free agency and trades, and given our expectations and the amount of work we have to do, we’ll be active in both of them.

“The guys inside the coaching room and the clubhouse know how we feel about the level of play we’re getting. I think we had a real nice stretch before we left on this road trip, and on this road trip you saw a reoccurrence of poor fundamental play and poor defensive play and bad base running and all the things that plagued us early in the year that we’ve put all sorts or adjectives on. I guess “unacceptable” would be an OK [label] to add to that list.”

Hahn also will have to deal with another issue soon after the season–whether to re-sign team captain Paul Konerko should the veteran decide he doesn’t want to retire.

“As we have said since spring training, just the last two times he entered the final year of his contract, I think we’ll sit down once the season is over and when he knows what he wants to do, we will have a conversation in private about the future and how everyone fits.

“Until the season ends, there’s really nothing to talk about there.”

Hahn repeated his optimism that a young pitching staff that has been one bright spot this season will be the springboard to improvement next season.

“I think we’re really pleased with the young pitching that we have talked about. Guys we’re seeing today with Erik Johnson [who starts Tuesday against Detroit], Jacob Petricka and Daniel Webb have had nice seasons. Marcus Semien had a real good year. Micah Johnson led the minor leagues in stolen bases, and other players had a good year.

“We entered this season knowing that we have a fair amount of outfield depth and good pitching depth as well. I think you have seen some of those pitchers take that next step as we had hoped–the outfielders maybe not as much as the infielders this past year. So it’s been similar to what we expected and what we talked about all year long.”

Catcher Josh Phegley also was promoted, but Hahn admitted he and Tyler Flowers, who had shoulder surgery last week, will have to improve offensively.

He said the coaching staff also will be evaluated after the season.

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