The White Sox enter the winter with plenty of questions — not just of how to address immediate roster needs, but also of how to approach the offseason strategically. GM Rick Hahn suggested to reporters today that the club intends to oversee some changes in its roster-building mentality this winter, as Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports.
With an impressive, controllable, affordable core, but also numerous needs, the White Sox could pursue a variety of avenues. The most drastic would be a full-blown tear-down in which the team’s best player assets — the contracts of stars such as Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and Adam Eaton — are marketed to the highest bidder.
Hahn certainly didn’t commit to that kind of course. But he did indicate that the broad imperative is now different, which could conceivably lead to rather dramatic change. Hoping to “put ourselves in a position to in on a sustainable basis,” Hahn explained, required the team to “focus on longer-term benefits over the offseason.
What does seem clear is that the White Sox will not continue to pursue shorter-term, expensive veterans to build around their core. “We have taken the approach for a number of years that we were focused on a short-term success,” Hahn said, specifying that the team was no longer interested in continuing that course because it “realize[s] a better position for the long-term is a more prudent path.”
Hahn didn’t prime fans for a massive rebuilding effort, though. He suggested that the club still has hopes of winning next year, but that the offseason “targets will have a little bit longer fits in nature.” But there does still appear to be a real possibility of some deals involving the team’s veterans. Hahn explained:
“Should we go to the position of selling off assets, looking toward a more long-term future, the market will dictate how deep of a cut that is. That would also be based on the return for some of our players. The market plays a huge role. … The other part is how your players are valued by the industry. We would not be just trading a younger piece for a younger piece. We would want to diversify the use of players, depending on the depth and strength of the roster. You may look at five or six spots to improve on.”
Clearly, there’s still a lot of uncertainty even with the GM Meetings underway. But it sounds as if the White Sox are open to any number of scenarios involving veterans. In addition to the key players noted above, the organization possesses a wide variety of short-term assets (e.g., Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, David Robertson) who’d surely hold appeal to contenders. And if the organization isn’t looking to add those types of players, it’s fair to wonder whether they’ll want to retain them.