Thursday, November 8, 2012
White Sox working the market under new GM
By Bruce Levine
INDIAN SPRINGS, Calif. -- The always proactive Chicago White Sox continue to work the free agent and trade market under new general manager Rick Hahn at the GM meetings.
"The meetings have been productive," Hahn said. "I want to caution that by saying I don’t think anything will happen while we are here. At the very least we have had good conversations with other clubs and we have a good sense as to how some of our guys might fit to address their needs and how some other players out there might address ours."
The Sox have always been active in trading their good, young pitching for other needs, which sometimes included pitcher for pitcher deals. Under former GM Ken Williams, the team twice traded LHP Gio Gonzalez for top talent. Gonzalez won 20 games for the Washington Nationals in 2012 and is a finalist for the NL Cy Young award. After the 2005 season, Williams traded RHP Brandon McCarthy to Texas for LHP John Danks.
The new top baseball executive of the White Sox admitted numerous clubs have expressed a lot of interest in his young pitchers during conversations. At the same time, Hahn does not believe he has untouchable players on his roster.
"The approach is that you should at least hear a team out," Hahn said. "You never know where talks might lead. These talks may not lead to a deal with that first player. If you flush out what their (other teams) priorities are and why they are asking for the player you might not want to trade, it can lead to something else. So we don’t cut off any conversations."
This is not Hahn’s first rodeo when it comes to engineering a deal.
"Having been a part of these meetings for a better part of the last decade (Hahn became Williams' assistant in 2001), it is not a huge difference," he said. "There are guys I know better than others and I'm obviously building new ones (relationships) with others."
Chicago is looking to become a bit more athletic while staying in the framework of a $105 million budget. After leading their division for 117 days in 2012, the White Sox expect to win under their new boss in 2013.
"We competed right until the depths of September, so we feel we are close," Hahn said. "We know that Detroit is a very good team. Kansas City is getting better. And you have two of the finer front offices in baseball in Cleveland and Minnesota. We are never going to reach a point where we are satisfied, and we have a lot of work to do. This being November, we have a lot of time to do it."
Free agent center fielder Michael Bourn would be a perfect fit as the club's leadoff hitter. The 30-year-old speedster would be a nice addition to a home-run heavy group of sluggers. But a six-year $90 million price tag that agent Scott Boras and Bourn expect to be paid does not fit -- or seem prudent -- the White Sox's mid-range budget.