Rick Hahn on the State of the White Sox

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Today’s News

Today’s Game

The series finale of this four-game series between the White Sox vs. Indians at Progressive Field, Cleveland is underway (11:05 a.m., CT, CSN). Starters: LHP Chris Sale (6-10, 2.69) for the Sox, RHP Justin Masterson (12-7, 3.42) for the Tribe.

Sox Starting Lineup: De Aza, CF; Ramirez, SS; Dunn, DH; Viciedo, LF; Gillaspie, 3B; Keppinger, 1B; Jordan Danks, RF; Beckham, 2B; Flowers, C.

GM Rick Hahn on Today’s Trade Deadline, the Remainder of the 2013 Season and Moving Forward

On the team’s recent transactions:

When we entered this period, we had a couple of players who were on expiring contracts, such as Jesse Crain, or likely not to be here next year, such as Matt Thornton.  We felt it was time to move on and try to maximize on the return we could get.  After we were able to move Matt in the middle of the month, and Jesse earlier this week, our focus shifted to doing the best baseball deals.  There was no urgency to move any other of our popular players, simply for the sake of making a trade.  When the Peavy deal came together, it made sense from a baseball standpoint both for this year, in being able to get a guy like (Avisail) Garcia, as well as the three prospects behind him, but also provide us with a fair amount of flexibility going forward into the offseason and into the next few years.

Are you pleased with how the past few days have gone and with the acquisition of Avisail Garcia?

We are very pleased with it.  Garcia is a high-ceiling kid who just turned 22 and has already had success in the postseason at the major-league level.  His development isn’t finished yet, but he is on the verge of being a multi-tool talent and impact player, potentially at centerfield, if not at the outfield corners, on the South Side for many years to come.  We are thrilled that we were able to acquire a player like that.

What would you like to see from the team for the remainder of the season?

It’s been a disappointing season for all of us around here.  It’s exciting to see a few bright spots along the way.  Obviously it’s a thrill to watch Chris Sale pitch every fifth day, seeing where John Danks has come in his rehabilitation, and a guy like Jose Quintana take that next step, or even young kids like Josh Phegley or Andre Rienzo to debut in a big way, is exciting.  I hope that, although obviously further trades can take place in the post-waiver trade deadline, I would hope that there’s some degree of, almost exhaling, by the club where they’re not worried about the constant rumors and speculations that swirl around when your team underachieves and you’re leading up to the trade deadline.  Now the focus can be just playing the best baseball we’re capable of playing over the next two months.

On possible future changes:

We realize that our work is not done yet. We haven’t performed near the level we anticipated entering the season or that we expect going forward.  We will continue to have changes whether they come in this post-waiver trade deadline period, or the off-season or the come over the course of next season.  There is a level of consistent performance at the major-league level that we expect out of our guys and there certainly is room for improvement right now and we have begun that process.  It is going to take a little time, it’s not all going to get done on the cusp of one trade deadline, it’s going to be a process.

Can you shed any light on details on the long-term plans of the organization?

This trade deadline was a very public milestone in the midst of an underachieving season.  However, as we began this conversation with the fact that there were only a couple of players that had to be moved as part of this process of retooling the club, the goal is to get us to the point where we have sustainable success and are a playoff contender on an annual basis.  Entering the playoffs on an annual basis would put us in the position to win multiple World Series titles.   Obviously the team we have out there right now isn’t going to get that done, and we’re going to have to have some improvement both offensively and defensively to get there.  Given the young pitching we have in place and that we have under control, we think we’re going to be able to make that process as short as possible.  This is going to take some time, and this was only the first step towards that goal, but given what we have already in house, we think the process of getting to that level is not going to take too long. 

How would you describe your plan?

It’s really not on me to put labels on it, and we don’t need to come up with a bound book and title of ‘here’s what’s going on’ in terms of our process here.  I think that given a year ago, we had a club that was fourth in the league in runs scored and now we’ve plummeted to the bottom.  There are reasons for that that need to be addressed and will be addressed going forward.  I think you’ve seen us over the last two years, how we’ve spent internationally, how we spend in the domestic draft, reinforce our farm system and we’re going to start bearing fruits of some of that here in the coming season that’s going to allow us to have a home-grown core augmented by trade and free-agency that’s going to allow us to compete at a higher level than we have been this year.

How important are the prospects you’ve added to the farm system? How important are they in your long-term plan?

It is important. Obviously you want to have a farm system that can provide you with impact, championship-caliber talent in Chicago, or allows you assets to go out and acquire those types of players from other organizations.  Having a stronger farm system makes it easier for you on both fronts.  Since July 2 with the international signing deadline, with the signing of (Micker) Zapata, as well as drafting Tim Anderson and Tyler Danish in the weeks before that, much less the trade for guys like Avisail Garcia and Brandon Jacobs, along with some of the other arms we’ve acquired, helps solidify it.  Again, it’s a process, one that started a few years ago and took a nice step forward over the last six weeks and will continue into the offseason.

What are you most excited to see over the remainder of this season?

What I’m most excited to see is the continuing infusion of the younger guys.  To see Josh Phegley on a regular basis, seeing Andre Rienzo on every fifth day, and there’s a few more that may be making their debut in a White Sox uniform in the upcoming weeks.  It’s going to be exciting to see the first elements of that next wave of White Sox talent.

Hahn via video:

http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=29305809

More Hahn via Scott Merkin at whitesox.com:

http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130731&content_id=55399612&vkey=news_cws&c_id=cws

Quote of the Day

Pitching Coach Don Cooper, interviewed today on WSCR Radio, was asked what language he uses to communicate with rookie Brazilian pitcher Andre Rienzo, whose major league debut on Tuesday was a successful one:

“A good job is understood in any language.”

Play of the Day

Jeff Keppinger’s ninth-inning, pinch-hit, two-out, two-run single that gave the Sox a 5-3 lead before they eventually lost last night in 10 innings, 6-5.

Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. Tigers at Comerica Park, Detroit (6:05 p.m., CT, CSN) in the opener of a three-game weekend series. Starters: LHP Hector Santiago (3-6, 3.33) for the Sox, RHP Doug Fister (9-5, 3.67) for the Tigers.

Did You Know…

…that as recently as July 7, newest White Sox Avisail Garcia hit for the cycle for Class AAA Toledo vs. Indianapolis?

Photo of the Day

Sale looks to win the battle of A.L. All-Star pitchers.

Image

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