White Sox general manager Rick Hahn was a guest on MLB Network’s Hot Stove earlier this morning and spoke with hosts Ron Darling and Fran Charles to discuss his team’s aggressive offseason (video link). Chicago, of course, has added Jeff Samardzija via trade in addition to signing David Robertson, Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche, Zach Duke, Emilio Bonifacio and Geovany Soto.
Here are some highlights from Hahn’s appearance as well as another White Sox item…
- Chicago’s plan goes back to the 2013 trade deadline, Hahn said. “…The die was cast on that season being a disappointment fairly early on,” he explained, “which gave us the opportunity to take a step back and assess where we needed to go as an organization and areas we had to get better.” The Sox flipped Jake Peavy for not only Avisail Garcia but top prospect Francellis Montas, whose stock has soared since the deal. That trade, as well as the trade of Alex Rios, freed up enough cash for the Sox to add Jose Abreu last winter, and his immediate impact helped the team decide to make a push this winter.
- Early in the offseason, Hahn sat down with owner Jerry Reinsdorf, president Kenny Williams, manager Robin Ventura, pitching coach Don Cooper and hitting coach Todd Steverson to assess the state of the organization. The “marching orders” from Reinsdorf after that meeting “were to go out and put us in a position to contend,” Hahn explained, noting that Reinsdorf did not want to waste the primes of players such as Abreu, Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.
- One reason that the club added LaRoche, according to Hahn, was that Abreu “ran out of a gas” a bit down the stretch. The team is hopeful that by giving Abreu a little more time at DH and using LaRoche at first base on those days, Abreu can sustain his production throughout the year. Abreu hit only five homers over the final two months of the season, and he posted a relatively pedestrian (by his standards, anyhow) .799 OPS over the final 21 games of 2014. That, of course, could be nothing more than a small sample size, though the lack of home runs could be seen as a sign of fatigue.
- Asked by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports/MLB Network whether the state of the division impacted the Sox’ aggressive push (referring to the fact that the Tigers and Royals are seen by some as worse than they were in 2014). “We don’t look around and see the team that won the AL Championship in Kansas City or the team that’s won the division the last four years in Detroit as necessarily coming back to the pack,” Hahn replied. Rather, he explained, the decision was more about a belief that the White Sox are in a position where they can reach the same level as those clubs and contend for a division title.
- Non-roster invitee Tony Campana suffered a torn ACL in a recent training session and will likely miss the entire 2015 season, the Sox announced on Twitter. It’s a tough break for the 28-year-old speedster, who was looking to make the club as a fourth outfielder after posting a solid .277/.336/.340 batting line in Triple-A with the D-Backs and Angels last season.