Friday, July 18, 2014
Buyers or sellers? Hahn toes the line
By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO -- The second half of the baseball season might have started Friday for the Chicago White Sox, but much focus was on the nonwaiver trade deadline less than two weeks away.
The White Sox entered play Friday with a 45-51 record and are in the midst of a roster rebuild, so it seems fairly obvious they will at least explore deals that would return some more young talent.
But when asked if the White Sox are buyers or sellers, general manager Rick Hahn took pause.
"It's certainly a very fair question but also not one that I'm going to answer, which I think you can understand," Hahn said. "Look, we are not where we need to be; we know that. We are realistic about where we are today. We are realistic about where we are likely to be over the next 10 weeks or so.
"I think if there are opportunities to continue the process we started over a year ago, in terms of putting long-term pieces in place that we feel will allow us to compete on an annual basis, we will follow down those paths."
Gordon Beckham or Dayan Viciedo could be used as trade bait in the coming days, but either of them alone might not get back the kind of young, core player the White Sox are seeking.
"We are not going to force anything," Hahn said. "There's no urgency to make any moves at this time. It's going to be dictated based upon the fits and what the return is going to be. I certainly don't plan to make any declarations or hang any signs on the front of the ballpark declaring our intentions.
"We are going to continue to be consistent and act in the same vein that we have in the past year, and that's trying to find long-term fits that can have an impact here."
While the White Sox did well over the past year to acquire young impact players like Avisail Garcia and Adam Eaton, coaxing teams to surrender young talent is never an easy thing. Getting them to give you young pitching is even tougher.
"Prospects are more or less courted in a lot of situations, and, as a result, it is a little more challenging to craft deals if you are on the receiving end of the prospect side," Hahn said. "This goes back well beyond the last few years. You tend to somewhat overvalue your own guys. You tend to fall in love with your own guys.
"[As] prices continue to escalate and the free-agent market perhaps gets a little more thin, clubs tend to further hoard their own players they feel good about and are affordable and that they can easily control. It's a little bit challenging at times, but it's not uniquely different than it has been the last couple of years."
Some areas the White Sox figure to target over the next two weeks, and on into the offseason, are starting pitching, bullpen, catcher and corner outfielder. Hahn was asked how far off the team is from where the front office would like it to be.
"That's probably an assessment to make later in the year, in terms of once the season's in the books and we know what guys we feel have fulfilled their potential and established themselves as fits here," Hahn said. "Once everybody's healthy, once we see the prognosis on guys for 2015, then we'll have a better sense of what our potential holes are and how we're going to go about filling them over the coming months.
"Again, we know we're not there yet. We're still a work in progress. We're certainly pleased about a lot of the developments over the past year. We're hopeful to add to that in the coming weeks, and, if not the coming weeks, then certainly the coming months into the offseason."