White Sox make first roster moves of offseason, hold off on bigger decisions

The White Sox made their initial roster moves, Rick Hahn finally spoke to the media, and yet there are still at least two three questions to answer over the weekend.

Hahn didn’t make any news regarding the club options on Craig Kimbrel and César Hernández, although ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported that the White Sox declined the $6 million option on Hernández for 2022, so he’s a free agent. Hahn also wouldn’t venture to say if they extended a qualifying offer to Carlos Rodón, merely saying, “It’d be great to bring him back in some capacity.”

That said, while the White Sox kicked the can on announcing the earliest decisions, they did go so far as to resolve the non-tender debates that could have taken the rest of the month to play out. The Sox outrighted Evan Marshall, Jace Fry, Jimmy Cordero and Brian Goodwin this morning, making all of them free agents. They compensated for the loss of relief options on the 40-man by adding lefty Anderson Severino, who shook off his role in the worst pitching inning in affiliated professional baseball history with a strong finish at Charlotte. After removing four and adding one, the Sox’s 40-man roster is at 34.

The timing of the decisions made it possible for Hahn to avoid discussing Kimbrel in detail, but he’s not avoiding the subject entirely, because he’ll be on ESPN 1000 Monday at 9 a.m. to follow up on the other decisions. For the time being, he said he had no regrets.

The White Sox haven’t yet shared the recording of the Zoom call, so there are some elements I’m hesitant to take without a better awareness of the context. For instance, tweets suggested some comfort with the idea of Gavin Sheets and Andrew Vaughn in right field …

… but the verbiage isn’t too much different from what he said about backup catcher, which featured even less promising options.

So it’s hard to tell how much is just indulging an opportunity to pump up the on-hand options because detailing players outside the organization gets to tampering pretty quickly. There isn’t the kind of comprehensive details fleshing out these answers like James Fegan was so kind to do for Hahn’s answer about defensive shifts.

The biggest official news is the hardest to parse from the outside. The White Sox are indeed bringing back Tony La Russa’s entire coaching staff, but they’re letting go of longtime strength and conditioning coach Allen Thomas, as Hahn said the White Sox are “reimagining” that department. The number of injuries confounded Hahn during the season, especially the unclear leg issues that tended to linger well after the players returned from injured list stints.

At least none of those issues required surgical intervention. Hahn said that Yasmani Grandal had the knee cleanout that Grandal posted about on Instagram, and Adam Engel had his left shoulder similarly addressed, but both should be good to go by spring training.

(Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports)

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Did the reds really access that a sub 3.5 era starting pitcher on a 1 year 10 mil deal had no trade value…… yikes. Easy pickup for the cubs.


That does not bode well for any potential trades of Keuchel and Kimbrel.


Roberto Perez for backup C anyone?


Fine by me.


I love that Jim can use his trauma of witnessing the Barons’ utter loss of the strike zone to discuss the first roster changes of the offseason.


We are blessed to have him.


Did Hahn happen to mention if they are getting Tony some bullpen managing lessons?


Cautiously optimistic that not signing Hernandez signals a willingness to spend to get better. Cautiously pessimistic that it means they think they can get by spending less than 6M on a decent 2d baseman.