Kenny Williams endorses Rick Hahn
CHICAGO -- White Sox assistant general manager Rick Hahn is about as far from self-serving as they come and that wasn't about to change Friday, regardless of the circumstances.
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With news Friday that Jim Hendry had been fired as general manager of the Cubs, it didn't take long for Hahn to be mentioned as his possible successor on the North Side.
"Like everyone else here, my focus is currently on the 2011 White Sox," Hahn said via e-mail Friday when asked if it was flattering to hear his name mentioned so prominently for a high-profile job. "Questions about my personal future can wait for another time."
A candidate for the Mets' vacant GM job last offseason, Hahn has received rave reviews for his work as Kenny Williams' right-hand man. In 2010 Baseball America named him first on its list of top GM prospects. Two years earlier, BaseballProspectus.com and SI.com also gave him high marks.
Williams would probably rank him higher. For 11 seasons Hahn has been the point man on a number of contract negotiations, most recently with Paul Konerko's new deal this offseason. Harvard-educated and a native of Winnetka, Hahn has been able to merge business and baseball acumen seamlessly.
Whether or not he is the right man to lead the Cubs to the promised land, though, is a decision that only club chairman of the board Tom Ricketts can make.
"I've made no secret about it, Rick Hahn is, to me, one of the most qualified men to assume the position moving forward," Williams said. "What Mr. Ricketts does is his own business. He's a guy that's had a lot of success in business and in his world, and his world over there is none of my business at this point in time. But if he called for a recommendation on Rick Hahn, I absolutely would give him my highest."
Manager Ozzie Guillen also took up Hahn's case for him.
"It's not my department but looking from the outside in he's very prepared," Guillen said. "He has gone through everything in the system. He knows baseball very well and helped this organization. This man is very prepared. I don't know if they are going to talk to him. I talk to Rick all the time, he knows baseball."
Hahn reportedly has an option in his contract with the White Sox to pursue GM jobs if the opportunity arises. But chairman Jerry Reinsdorf's track record indicates that he would let Hahn pursue a GM job if a team asked for permission to interview him.
Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com.