The Chicago White Sox, an organization known for making big splashes in the off-season, was unusually quiet this winter. The White Sox didn’t add a left-handed bat like many thought they would, nor did they make any kind of transactions relating to their starting pitching. However, one move, or change, did occur this winter that will shape the White Sox for years to come.
Longtime White Sox general manager Ken Williams was promoted to executive vice president and Rick Hahn, who was Williams’ assistant GM, was named the new general manager for the South Siders.
In his 12 years as the White Sox GM, Williams was extremely aggressive. Whether it was the MLB Trade Deadline or the off-season, he was never shy about making some noise. And while Williams will still have a large say in all White Sox transactions, with a strangely silent off-season, should Sox fans be worried about Hahn being timid?
If you ask Williams and Hahn, they would tell you absolutely not. Both men have stated that even with the GM switch, the White Sox front office approach will remain the same.
I believe both of them. With a team that was in first place for more than half the season last year, and the list of appealing free agents being short this winter, the South Siders were smart to stay put. However, since arriving at Spring Training early last week, Hahn has made some comments that caught my attention.
When discussing the current state of the White Sox, Hahn said that as an organization, they are both building for the future and trying to compete in 2013. This approach, for any MLB team, can result in total destruction. It’s a very slippery slope for Hahn and the White Sox.
For example, if the Sox are in playoff contention around the 2013 MLB Trade Deadline, and adding a big bat or another arm will help catapult them into the playoffs, then what will Hahn do? Make a move at the deadline and give up top prospects, which may hurt the White Sox’ future success, or choose to not make any moves, which could result in the Sox missing the postseason?
If I had to guess, going off past decisions made by Williams, the White Sox will do whatever it takes to win in 2013. I’m guessing this is also what most Sox fans will want. I hope that Hahn will pull the trigger on any move that will help the White Sox win ballgames this year.
While Hahn’s current method of wanting to both win now and build for the future can be somewhat tricky, it isn’t impossible. In 2012, the White Sox were able to fill their needs without giving up much in return. Both Kevin Youkilis and Brett Myers were in season pickups by the Sox that didn’t require them to deal away any of their future studs.
There certainly is the potential for Hahn’s “on the fence” approach to back fire in 2013. That being said, in the past, the White Sox front office has always made it clear that they will do whatever it takes to compete each and every year and I can’t imagine 2013 being any different.