Rick Hahn is Like a Bad HGTV Personality

The White Sox promised that the money would be spent. To a degree it has. They signed Grandal and Keuchel last offseason. They’ve built a solid young core that they’ve for the most part extended. Rick Hahn has built himself a nice little house. He just has a few little things to patch up, like the foundation that the whole house stands on.

Once again this off-season Rick Hahn finds himself operating on a budget. According to Bob Nightengale the Sox were interested in Michael Brantley but he was too expensive. In comes Adam Eaton. Yes it is troublesome that Michael Brantley is out of the price range that Jerry Reinsdorf has given Rick Hahn to operate in. We all know that. It’s a problem. A larger problem though is Rick Hahn’s ability to operate in a tighter than expected budget, like a bad, third Property Brother.

Imagine if you will the White Sox roster as the first floor of a pretty nice house. They think they’re ready to add a second floor though- the playoffs- the World Series. Everything looks good, but the stairs need to be fixed. Rick doesn’t have much left in the budget though. So instead of building stairs with some fresh lumber from Home Depot, he goes to the house Edwin Encarnacion or, say, Shin Soo Choo used to live in but abandoned next door and takes some old wood from their stairs. They should be fine. The stairs may look old and rickety, but they have never collapsed before!

One day when Eloy Jimenez is trying to carry his new TV up the stairs or Tim Anderson is carrying a bowl of spaghetti to his bedroom the stairs collapse. Oh no this part of the house isn’t working. Tim and Eloy are going to have to get to their bedrooms by putting a ladder over these broken stairs that don’t work anymore. There’s a hole in the lineup, I mean house.

One day Eloy is climbing the ladder while face timing his Mom. Because he doesn’t have both hands on the ladder he slips and falls. He injures himself, but worse than that because the White Sox didn’t draft well, I mean build a good enough foundation, the whole floor collapses underneath him and brings down the entire house.

This is the perpetual dilemma that the White Sox seem to face when addressing rosters issues under Rick Hahn. Instead of signing a younger cheaper player who has struggled elsewhere Hahn tends to go for the aging veteran because they’ve had past success before. The problem is it never works out for him. If you’re going to have to sign someone cheap then at least go for someone who might be risky because they haven’t had sustained major league success but could still have a higher ceiling. Hahn likes to sign these veterans because their past success indicates a high floor, but the floor these veterans have always seem to rot and collapse under them. bringing the rest of the roster with them. It doesn’t help when you only have one position player in the pipeline in Andrew Vaughn, so that when injuries occur and Eloy falls off the ladder there is no one to replace him creating yet another hole in the lineup.

The signing of Adam Eaton was troubling for this reason. Eaton has been good in the past. There’s a chance he’s still good, but no one knows. What is he going to do at DH and in the starting rotation? Hopefully these rumors that the Sox can’t afford Brantley are not true. If they are, then get ready to fortify this house without a lot of rotting wood.

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Hahn’s latest comments include Andrew Vaughn, Zack Collins, Mercedes and Zebala as all internal options to fill catcher/DH roles. With this amount of inexpensive plugs, is it possible that Trevor Bauer is in play? I’d gladly have Vaughn, Collins, et al, in the line up this year, if that meant Bauer is added to give the White Sox the best starting rotation in baseball.


After watching the Lynn and Eaton press calls, my impression was that Hahn is planning a couple more signings. But I think the “big ticket” signing he is excited about is a closer like Hendriks (or Hand/Rosenthal/Yates), and they’ll probably try to sign another DH bat (and if Brantley is too expensive, that probably means someone like Schwarber, who they could more easily platoon with Vaughn whenever they call him up).

But I heard his comments as sounding satisfied with the rotation for now, and wanting to see how Cease and Kopech (and Lopez and other in-house arms) look, with the “flexibility” to add in-season/at the trade deadline. So I suspect that they may only sign a low end starter or two, maybe on minor league contracts with invitations to camp, and see how things look during Spring Training.

Regardless, I’ve never thought we had a realistic chance at signing Bauer. Even beyond historical White Sox precedents re big dollar signings and making significant commitments to pitchers, Bauer’s comments about what he was looking for in a team just did not describe the White Sox. That suggests we’d have to meaningfully outbid other suitors, and even if JR was willing to “go big”, he wouldn’t go that big.


I would think the signing last year of Nomar Mazara, a then-24 year old RF who had struggled to realize his potential in Texas, would be the exact profile of the “…younger, cheaper player that has struggled elsewhere…”

I’m not upset by anything Hahn has done so far; Lynn is a great arm, Eaton *could* work out – both at reasonable prices. If this is where the activity ends when spring training rolls around… then I’ll be pissed.


I find it hard to take the Nightengale comment at face value. MLB Traderumors has Brantley signing for 2 yrs for $28MM. Given what they signed EE for last year, $14MM AAV for two years (or something near that) doesn’t sound “cost prohibitive” even by JR’s miserly standards. Also, Nightengale suggests that Hahn viewed Brantley as an everyday right-field option and pivoted to Eaton as a less expensive alternative. If Hahn over-values veteran experience and “dependability”, it seems unlikely that he’d view the 34 year old Brantley, who has played all of 58 innings in right, as a candidate to fill that hole for the Sox. Further, Nightengale could easily have sited any number of baseball reasons for preferring Eaton to Brantley as an everyday rightfielder; instead, JR’s pet reporter went out of his way to make to make the Sox look cheap. I’m holding on to the belief that Nightengale’s tweet and Hahn’s listing internal solutions for DH represent efforts to mask the active pursuit of Brantley for DH.

Last edited 2 years ago by denman

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there is a 3rd property brother, and he’s amazing.

Jim Margalus

Is this anything?

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the caption actually made me laugh harder than the photoshop.


this is quite the analogy.