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White Sox GM Rick Hahn open for business as meetings start

ORLANDO, Fla. — After watching former White Sox ace Chris Sale struggle with the Red Sox in his first career trip to the postseason, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn claims no joy, no feeling of validation, in the decision to trade Sale last year.

But he didn’t have to wait long after that trade to get validation from at least one peer for the haul of highly ranked prospects he got back in a roster-gutting series of trades.

“I had one GM say something about being cautious for doing deals with us, tongue in cheek, because of how well we did,” Hahn said as the general manager meetings opened Monday in Orlando. “And I said, ‘All I did was notice former White Sox players all over my TV screen in October. So it works both ways.’

“If anything, I think that made us hungrier for our fans to experience it with quality players in our uniform. I’m certainly happy for the players that were out there and got that opportunity. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that you also think about the missed opportunity where we didn’t have the chance to have them in the postseason while they played for us.”

Rick Hahn

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That’s not going to stop Hahn from continuing the veteran-trading phase of the South Side rebuild, specifically when it comes to first baseman Jose Abreu and outfielder Avisail Garcia.

“I think we’ve certainly proven over the last year that no one is untouchable, and we have a responsibility to understand the market value of all our players,” said Hahn, who’s clearly open for more business. But he added that the Sox can be more patient this year, with fewer veterans to move. In fact, they hold Abreu’s clubhouse influence in such high regard “that [it] quite frankly may well tilt it so that we value him more than anyone else in the game because we’ve had the privilege of having him in our clubhouse.”

Hahn’s efforts aren’t all about shedding players this winter. He has roster holes to fill, too, and didn’t rule out a reunion with free-agent outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was traded to the Royals in July.

“Nothing’s out of the question on any reasonable price,” Hahn said. “Melky was extremely popular in our clubhouse and a great guy to have around. I don’t want to speculate on what his market’s going to be, but we haven’t closed the doors to any possibility.”

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Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com