Avert your eyes: An accounting of White Sox free agents in the Rick Hahn era

Back on South Side Sox in June of 2016, Larry wrote an open letter to Jerry Reinsdorf saying it was time for him to scrap the White Sox front office due to the horrendous track record it accumulated since Kenny Williams moved upstairs and yielded the general manager’s seat to Rick Hahn. Larry presented a tabulation of all of Hahn’s moves, and Hahn came out with a measly 15 Wins Above Replacement for all his struggles with trades and free agency. Worse yet, Jose Abreu and Adam Eaton accounted for 17.4 of those wins, which means everybody else was cumulatively underwater.

Obviously, Reinsdorf has not made such changes. He did opt to pull the plug on the cost-controlled core and rebuild for a second time after that season, but he kept the architects of the first rebuild in place. The continuity keeps Larry’s missive relevant years later, especially since they haven’t yet threatened a winning record.

The White Sox’s historical inability to acquire productive MLB players at digestible costs is why I’ve been bearish about their chances of succeeding with this rebuild, especially since a rough year on the farm wiped out their margin for error solving problems from within, or using extra prospects for trades.

With free agency being the most likely avenue for upgrading the 2020 White Sox, I wanted to revisit the topic with a specific focus on the open market, because there’s a lot of ugly history Hahn has to overcome.

Below is a year-to-year chart of the White Sox’s forays into free agency under Hahn. A few notes:

No. 1: I didn’t include most minor-league free agent signings, because while some have worked out really well, most worked out as well as one might expect, if they even appeared in the majors at all. Instead of wrestling with Zach Putnam vs. Bruce Rondon and the like, I only included a few minor-league signings where the Sox penciled them in for a 25-man roster spot assuming they survived spring training.

No. 2: I also set aside the retention of a few incumbents, whether it was due to the minimal guarantee, an enormous legacy, or a strong performance from the previous year that made the subsequent contract a no-brainer. Believe me, this only helps Hahn.

No. 3: The “contract” column reflects an approximation of the money paid by the White Sox. Some are truncated due to trade, and one is prorated due to a delayed start.

No. 3: I used Baseball-Reference.com WAR for everybody except catchers, because any differences between systems should come out in the wash. Catchers get Baseball Prospectus’ WARP in order to capture framing value. This will surface at the very end.

2013

PlayersContractWAR
Jeff Keppinger3/$12M-1.9
Matt Lindstrom2/$4.3M0.7
Total$16.3M-1.2

Recap: Hahn inherited an 85-win team that both stronger (88-74 Pythagorean record) and weaker (shaky end-of-year health) than it appeared. Hahn didn’t want to over-commit to a crumbling foundation, settling for the patch signing of Keppinger, who performed so poorly in the first year of a three-year deal that they didn’t bother trying to get any value out of the second and third years. Lindstrom came in to give Robin Ventura a veteran arm with some closing experience, and he was OK.

(This list doesn’t include Dewayne Wise, who was guaranteed $700,000 despite being a low-hope signing.)

2014

PlayersContractWAR
Jose Abreu6/$68M21.2
Felipe Paulino1/$2M0.0
Scott Downs1/$4M-0.5
Ronald Belisario1/$3M-1.5
Total$77M19.2

Recap: Hahn’s lone free agent signing that exceeded expectations, Jose Abreu was worth every penny of his $68 million extension — so much so that he actually made about $74 million after opting out of the last three years of his deal and going into arbitration. Paulino was an attempt at a salvage job that didn’t work,, Downs continued the White Sox’s less-than-stellar track record with veteran LOOGys, and Belisario’s dreadful season was overshadowed by an even worse one by a White Sox reliever two years later.

Whether it was his choice or Reinsdorf’s, Hahn was also saddled with the retention of Paul Konerko despite the Abreu signing. Konerko’s swan song would knock 1 WAR off the total if I included him.

2015

PlayersContractWAR
Adam LaRoche1/$12M-0.8
Melky Cabrera3/$42M4.6
Geovany Soto1/$1.5M1.0
Emilio Bonifacio1/$3M-0.8
Gordon Beckham1/$2M0.7
Zach Duke1+/$7M1.7
David Robertson2+/$29M2.9
Total$96.5M9.3

Recap: Hahn supposedly won the winter with this offseason, but it didn’t show up in any of the columns that counted. LaRoche was a disaster start-to-overdramatic-retirement-that-divided-baseball-along-religious-lines, while the high-priced adequacy of Cabrera, Duke and Robertson weren’t enough to make a difference. All of those guys ended up getting traded before their contracts were up, and Blake Rutherford is the only prospect to show for it, unless A.J. Puckett is still alive.

2016

PlayersContractWAR
Dioner Navarro1/$4M-0.7
Alex Avila1/$2.5M0.3
Austin Jackson1/$5M-0.1
Jimmy Rollins 1/$2M -0.1
Mat Latos1/$3M0.4
Total$16.5M-0.2

Recap: Everybody expected Hahn to follow up with another blast of spending for one more big push, but after trading for Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie, he ultimately stopped short and tried to apply veteran patches around the diamond. The decision to non-tender Tyler Flowers to sign Navarro is less costly than the trade for James Shields, but it was probably more foolish because it was such an unforced error. Latos more or less met expectations as a guy at the end of his career, but by not aiming higher, Hahn ended up in a situation where Shields looked appealing.

(Note: This also doesn’t include the retention of Matt Albers, who was easily worth a $2 million deal before the season after overachieving on a minor-league deal, giving it the feel of an arbitration raise. He ended up being worth a stunning -1.9 WAR thanks to Ventura’s unshakable belief in him.)

2017

PlayerContractWAR
Derek Holland1/$6M-1.6

Recap: After trading Eaton and Chris Sale to start the rebuild, Hahn didn’t seek any real replacements on the open market. He tried to see if Holland was flippable, but they ended up cutting him in September instead.

2018

PlayerContractWAR
Welington Castillo2/$15M-1.3
Miguel Gonzalez1/$4.75M-0.7
Hector Santiago1/$2M0.7
Total$19.75M-1.3

Recap: Hahn became a step bolder after an encouraging first year of the rebuild. He attempted to slow the revolving door at catcher with Castillo, only to see him earn the team’s first-ever in-season PED suspension. I included Gonzalez on this list because the White Sox shopped around before returning to him, and his shoulder couldn’t answer the call. Santiago signed to a minor-league deal, but he had his contract purchased before the start of the season as expected.

2019

PlayerContractWAR
Kelvin Herrera2/$18M-0.4
Jon Jay1/$4M-0.8
James McCann1/$2.5M1.0
Ervin Santana1/$4M-0.4
Total$19M*-0.6

(*Total only includes Herrera’s 2019 salary.)

Recap: McCann is Hahn’s best free agent signing since Abreu, at least if you don’t include his below-average receiving (B-Ref had him at 3.8 WAR, FanGraphs at 2.3). He certainly exceeded expectations more than other attempted solutions, who ultimately dragged down his contributions. I called Jay a sentient Chicago 2016 Olympics t-shirt before the season, so he met his billing as a baseball-second signing, but Herrera’s first year was treated as a well-compensated rehab stint, which doesn’t inspire faith.

Overall

Everybody wants what’s best for Jose Abreu because he’s so often been one of the few players keeping this enterprise watchable. The same can be said for his place in this post.

It’s fitting that Abreu keeps Hahn’s track record with free agents from being off-the-charts abysmal. Add up the numbers on the above charts, and $251 million of free agent signings has yielded a total of 23.5 WAR. That’s an inefficient use of resources, but the Sox might be able to work with it if it were distributed evenly, or at least for multiple players in a given year.

I find it more useful to provide a few different totals that better tell the story.

CategoryPlayersMoneyWAR
Above total26$251M23.5
w/incumbents29$256M20.4
w/o Abreu28$188M-0.8
≥$5M/year, w/o Abreu8$134M5.0
≤$5/year20$54M-2.8

That’s incredible. As Abreu shows, all it takes is one free agent success story to cover for a number of lesser signings that failed to materialize. Since the Abreu deal, there hasn’t been one signing that delivered more than expected, at least in a way that can mask two, three or four that didn’t. The fourth row shows where the other value has come from, and it’s been the bigger signings like Robertson and Cabrera, who had to work hard to bring limited forms of adequacy to the proceedings, but at least helped at times.

This why the prospect of signing Manny Machado or Bryce Harper for $30 million a season didn’t make me flinch, and still doesn’t even after both their teams failed to make the postseason. Were they overpaid for their 3-to-4 WAR seasons in 2019? Maybe, but they still would’ve represented the White Sox’ best use of free-agent funds over the last five years, and by a large margin.

They may as well go big for once, because the White Sox just haven’t shown an ability to find value in the lower tiers of free agency this decade. If you told me the Sox have been paying the devil in exchange for going 5-for-5 with such signings in building the 2005 team, I’d have a hard time refuting it. I’d also start to wonder when that Faustian bargain stops being worth it. If failures on the free agent front undermine this rebuild like it did the last one, I imagine more fans will consider that a conversation worth having.

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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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asinwreck

Thanks for updating this always-relevant indictment of Sox management, Jim. If several readers could bookmark this piece and ask questions based on it at SoxFest, that would be appropriately awkward.

metasox

I would like fans to ask Hahn what is his own personal measure for success, i.e., under what circumstances or at what point he would choose to step down. I don’t suggest that in a mean-spirited way. But rather that in an org which shows extreme loyalty, it may be up to individuals to decide when to turn the reins over to someone else.

As Cirensica

Someone should make a nice looking banner with Jim’s summary table and display it prominently at Sox festival Q&A with the following caption:

“Hahn, I’m lost for words. So no questions from me, thank you.”

salsashark21

Ever since the morning that Machado happened I’ve thought about SoxFest and what I would ask Hahn. This article is an easy top-3.

tdogg

Bad at his job…..And had the nerve to act as if fans “want” to see them fail in the rebuild because we had the audacity to question his competency.

roke1960

So in 7 years, Rick Hahn has signed a total of ZERO major league free agents who have produced greater than 5 WAR. And we’re supposed to think he’s going to sign 3 or 4 this winter? Get ready for another long winter of bad free agent signings. I sure hope I’m wrong, but 7 years of ineptitude is stunningly bad.

burning-phoneix

I mean, if you’re trying to sign players for under 5 million dollars, that’s the riffraff you’re gonna get. The measure of success for those kinds of contracts is if you can wriggle out 2 WAR seasons out of budget signings.

WBWSF

Yes, Hahn is a flop as a GM. It doesn’t matter to JR. The White Sox continue to make millions of dollars in profits every year. That’s all that matters to JR.

mikeyb

Rick is going to pull this out at SoxFest as evidence that it is smart for the Sox to not spend on free agents this offseason.

knoxfire30

J F C all I have to say

MrStealYoBase

This is even sadder than expected.

It reminds me of this analysis of player development.

You know it’s bad. But then you see the numbers and you can only be dumbfounded by how bad.

lil jimmy

Melky was fun at least.

Patrick Nolan

Great job. Extremely sad, but great job.

yinkadoubledare

Extremely Sad And Incredibly Gross – the Rick Hahn Free Agent Story

PauliePaulie

*larry

Ted Mulvey

This would be a good post to tie into the free agent contract Sporcle I run annually, but I’m going to hold off on that in the hopes that I can actually update it this year with a big(ger) signing.

…Worry not, though, tomorrow’s Sporcle will still be a touch depressing in its own way.

Patrick Nolan

Phew, I was worried for a second that I wouldn’t want to play it.

Ted Mulvey

You know what they say, “If it ain’t depressing, it ain’t worth Sporcling”.

…or something like that.

asinwreck

It is as if the quizmaster had an innate understanding of Chicago White Sox history.

asinwreck

This is a good one.

Ted Mulvey

Thanks!

billyok

Well when you put it like that

NateDPT12

An excellent summation of how the White Sox bargain basement, half measure approach to free agency has gotten them nowhere the last 7 years.  The fourth column is fairly instructive as well.  Apparently if you sign good players you get a better return on your investment even if they cost more. ? 

tdogg

That’s not the conclusion I came to at the end. More like Hahn has been terrible spending money in FA period. Oakland, with far less cash, has had much different results.

As Cirensica

This sums up pretty well one of the biggest problems of this organization. It is not about that they are cheap and don’t spend, it is about how mind-blowing bad it goes when they do.

Big Hurt Beer

It’s both

zerobs

I agree with 98% of the recap but I don’t think it goes far enough.
Hahn’s track record is awful, but it needs to be put into the perspective of the prior 4 years where Williams was the clear GM.

2009: Traded Swisher for even less overall production. Traded Logan/Vazquez for Flowers/Lillibridge. Signed Garcia, Raines, Podsednik, and Colon – low-priced and still overpaid. Signed Yolmer Sanchez. Late trade for Mark Kotsay (negative WAR). Was also the beginning of the strange case of Sergio Santos – probably Williams’ most bizarre handling of a player. Grade: F.

2010: Signed Vizquel, Andruw Jones, Putz; traded for Juan Pierre. Traded Fields/Getz for Teahen (the fact that this trade was a net positive for KC speaks volumes). Putz and Jones at least provided positive WAR. Deadline trade for Edwin Jackson worked out (Daniel Hudson). Grade: C.

2011: The Adam Dunn and Jesse Crain years begin. Crain was good and Dunn was simply terrible. In retrospect you can’t blame Ozzie Guillen for “going off the reservation”. Grade: F. 2012: Signed Quintana, Traded Santos, Quentin, and Jason Frasor for negative WAR. How incompetent do you have to be to sign Jose Quintana and STILL make the team worse?? Grade: D.

Bizarrely, Kenny Williams is promoted. More bizarrely, Toronto asked to interview Williams at the end of 2014 (after the messes with Santos AND Sirotka)! Even more bizarrely, Reinsdorf would not grant permission!!

That’s why I don’t like all the attention paid to Hahn’s failures when his failures are only indicative of an overall organizational problem. I give Kenny Willimas a lot of credit for knowing the terrible job he did and parlaying the 2005 success into a promotion just as the last four years of bad apples he acquired began to rot the entire barrel. 2009-2012 was running off the fumes of the good players acquired prior to 2009, since 2009 the front office has been a disaster. Moncada, Giolito, Jimenez are paying off and Madrigal and Robert appear to be future above-average players. Maybe this is a sign of slow, positive change within the organization. But I’m still skeptical, not because of Hahn so much as because of Williams.

MrStealYoBase

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

The definition of insanity for a White Sox fan is seeing what the front office has done again and again for the last decade and a half and expecting them to build a contender.

tdogg

Yes, Hahn has gotten a pass all too often.

Amar

This

Neat_on_the_rocks

This is great work, thanks Jim!

I dont know why, but for some reason, despite everything I just read – I am not only optimistic, but confident, that Hahn will actually bring in a Decent Starting Pitcher (odirizzi) as well as a Decent RF or DH (Castellanos or Encarnacion).

Somehow Hahn has me convinced he will actually do the “acceptable bare minimum” this offseason. Really its 2021 I’m worried about. I’m worried Hahn will spend Go out and get Odirizzi and Castellanos and say “hah, the money was spent!” And basically be done the next couple years. When really that is only acceptable if its just the start of something.

SonOfCron

Up until he received a QO, I was expecting Odorizzi to be our pitcher signing. He’s a guy who annually has better surface stats than peripherals, and every year his XFIP is nearly a full point higher than his ERA. I figured the combination of his decent ERAs and relative cheapness compared to the market would make him a perfect candidate for Hahn to sign and claim he was spending on a “big FA,” only to have him bring his fly-ball game to GRate and faceplant. Now that he’s received a QO, I’m really hoping that gives Hahn the excuse he needs to look elsewhere.

evenyoudorn

Not really a Sox Machine project, but it would be a little bit interesting, and a lot of bit horrifying, to aggregate the horrid performance of the current Bulls and Sox regimes under Jerry. We know what they’ve paid out in contracts and we should be able to figure out how badly they’ve spent money in terms of the cost of a Win. That assumes basketball has those same types of figures, which they must (right?).

Drafts might be tough to quantify… but maybe like an expected WAR/$-value per slot (minus) actual achieved. Trades… I dunno. That’s hard.

But then again, I suppose this would be a really big and time-consuming project that would ultimately confirm for us that up is up and that it’s cold here in winter.

MrStealYoBase

Driveline Baseball did the analysis for drafting and player development and… it’s definitely cold in winter.

Edit: For those who don’t want to click the link: White Sox player development since 2012 has resulted in a net loss of $347M worth of player value, dead last in the majors and $816M behind the leading Dodgers.

evenyoudorn

Did you not consider that we didn’t want to click the link because we preferred not to know?

Neat_on_the_rocks

DELETE THIS. MY EYES

This looks fascinating. Of course you know I scrolled to the bottom first to see the end result. Holy cow, we are worst in the league by an INCREDIBLY HUGE MARGIN. I’m excited to read through all this on lunch.

tommytwonines

Maybe Driveline’s just mad they couldn’t fix Carson Fulmer. 

zerobs

Jerry has weird two-headed monsters running the front office of both teams.

evenyoudorn

It would be one thing if it was some badass, savvy two-headed demon or something – but we’ve got CatDog and one of those apocalyptic sheep. Neither GarPax nor Hahniams seem terribly sharp and they aren’t metal at all.

anthonyprinceton

Thanks for making me go down this rabbit hole. haha, I think the Bulls have done fairly well in the draft. Injuries have been the main issue and I like the current roster with the additions of Young and Satoransky. They need to stay healthy and play together. What do you think, I think they have done significantly better than the White Sox in the draft and talent acquisition overall. The second biggest issue with the Bulls was getting free agents to take their money. Some of that is on management but also on the players like Rose and Butler.

Bulls Drafts
2008 – Rose over Beasley was the right move.
2009 -James Johnson (16th pick), didn’t do much with the Bulls but has been a rotation player. Taj Gibson (26th pick) was a steal.
2010 – Traded the pick (17th Kevin Seraphin) and Hinrich for a Euro player that was eventually turned into 1 season of Dwyane Wade.
2011 – Had 2 first round picks, one of which was Jimmy Butler (30th pick), a massive steal. The other, Norris Cole (28th pick) who they traded for Nikola Mirotic, solid move.
2012- Marquis Teague (29th pick), never developed.
2013 – Tony Snell (20th pick), NBA rotation player.
2014 – Turned 2 first round picks into Doug McDermott. Both players traded are contributing with Denver. Not a good draft for the Bulls.
2015 – Bobby Portis (20th pick), solid NBA contributor.
2016 -Denzel Valentine (14th pick) Slowed by injuries and currently riding the bench. I liked him out of MSU.
2017 – Used the 16th pick and Jimmy Butler to acquire LaVine, Dunn and Markkanen, good trade for the Bulls overall.
2018 – Wendel Carter (7th pick), looks like a solid NBA center in the making. Chandler Hutchison (22nd pick), slowed by injury but is currently playing over Valentine.
2019 – Coby White (7th pick). explosive, high energy shoot first PG, currently in the rotation.

BeefLoaf108

Jim, you really know how to piss in a man’s Cheerios on a Friday morning

Right Size Wrong Shape

That requires incredible precision.

Willardmarshall

I remain a White Sox fan. Why?

Hulksmash

I’m going to say something I’m guessing isn’t very popular: I feel bad for Hahn. Now, I am not discounting Jim’s very clear–and very compelling–evidence. But I think Hahn is the unfortunate product, at times, of a broken system. Let’s look at the Machado disaster from last year. Hahn caught hell for bringing in Alonso and Jay, but think about it: Hahn had to have known that the only possibly way he was going to land Machado was to think outside the box and bait him here in unconventional ways. I’d be willing to bet–and he’d never be able to admit this–that he knew Jerry would dick him over at the contract stage. He had to have known he’d be undermined in the black and white by Jerry’s cheapness and his inability to offer modern day deals. So, Hahn moved laterally with Jay and Alonso, trying to entice Machado in other ways. Yes, it failed. But part of me honestly admires the attempt. He knows what he’s working with in JR and KW, and it least he’s trying to still wave despite his handcuffs.

Again, Hahn’s not perfect. He may not even be good. But part of me can’t help but feeling that he can do much better if he didn’t have JR and KW to contend with; part of me thinks it’s hard to judge him with these conditions.

salsashark21

I don’t think anybody thinks this is all on him. We know he’s absolutely tied down by management, but the problem is there’s just nothing tangible to make an argument for him. He’s done these free agency deals with one hand tied behind his back for sure, but even with one hand you should be able to land something once in a while.

MarketMaker

while the empathy is nice, there’s a lot of other teams doing more with less.

yes, the ownership is awful. but like all people running business units, hahn is given a budget and asked to produce a plan, then execute against that plan. that we cannot identify a core competency for this front office is the glaring issue. you don’t have to be great or even good at everything, but you must have a demonstrable strength and it must outweigh your weaknesses.

evenyoudorn

They used to draft/develop starting pitchers and “fix” relievers, and they used to keep guys healthy. Even that has dried up. You can’t even really credit them for Gio because he went out and fixed himself. “They didn’t stop him” is not much to hang your hat on.

PauliePaulie

The last 8 years convinced me Hahn is more similar to KW and JR than hamstrung by them.

vanillablue

Managing the owner is a major part – and maybe the most important part – of the GM’s job. I don’t think Reinsdorf is really that different than any other owner. No owner wants to spend money on players. The front office’s job is partly to convince the owner that spending money on good players makes financial sense; if the owner won’t do it, then get creative and find good players in other ways (see: Rays, A’s). The Hahn/Williams regime has shown it can’t do either.

Hulksmash

I know, I know–and you’re all right. Maybe I’m just being generous for some reason, trying to find hope rather than commit to the idea that the whole Sox system–the trifecta of JR, KW, and Hahn, bleeding from the top down–isn’t busted. But, man…that is one hard case to make.

burning-phoneix

Reinsdorf didn’t get the millions needed to own a sports franchise by having bad financial sense. He knows what he’s doing. There are owners that will spend and spend big to win, Illitch and Mark Cuban are two that come to mind as are several rich club owners in International soccer. Oakland and Tampa FOs are great but they can try as they might, they will forever be chasing wildcards with the limitations placed on them by management and will have to keep trading the talent they spent years developing to keep from paying them.

karkovice squad

He got his millions through rent-seeking arbitrage using a since closed tax loophole. Which makes him a savvy real estate lawyer and not much else.

I don’t know why we should celebrate a team owner for translating rent-seeking ability to sports since whatever he’s good at doesn’t make for an improved on-field product.

MarketMaker

we’re hoping the dog gets up and plays the piano because we’ve seen him walk across the keys before.

burning-phoneix

God, all these sub 5 million dollar deals are disgusting. Shop at the bargain bin and you get shit no one wants. Too bad Jerry still thinks 2005 can happen again.

evenyoudorn

Only $1.99 for Weekend at Bernie’s 4?!

karkovice squad

2015 actually looks pretty good compared to everything else, free agent-wise. LaRoche stands out as awful in every way possible but even then still merely brings the overall value down to an OK, if not optimal, $10m/WAR. The issue wasn’t bad signings so much as an insufficient amount spending.

The bigger whiffs were really on Semien’s development and failing to diagnose the Samardzija-Coop friction in advance. That friction was itself also a baseball R&D/development issue, too, though.

Ultimately, either the front office should’ve been given the budget to complete these rosters or they should’ve been replaced for people that could handle the restrictions before the rebuild started.

iowasox1971

Jim,

Thanks for detailing this information on the horrible free-agent signings during the Hahn error.

I would also like to point out that he is the genius who traded away Semien and Tatis Jr. for veteran starting pitchers who, to put it mildly, had very disappointing stints with us.

Hahn has never been the GM of a team that has finished with a winning record. He is 0-for-7 in that regard. I haven’t done the research, but I am wondering if there are any other GMs in pro sports who have ever been able to stay on the job after seven consecutive losing seasons.

zerobs

Dayton Moore began with 7 losing seasons in KC before the 8th was a success. Of course they probably had a lot less revenue to work with.

burning-phoneix

Matt Millen went 0-8 on winning seasons with the Detroit Lions IIRC all in all he has .270 winning percentage as GM

burning-phoneix

Oh and I remember Elgin Baylor went 12 losing seasons in charge of the Clippers. Mike Milbury also had 6 losing seasons in a row with the Islanders.

asinwreck

At least Guaranteed Rate isn’t the mouldering final act of Three Rivers Stadium and Chicago’s economy isn’t the immediate post-steel disaster of 1990s Pittsburgh.

hackwilson

Rick Renteria will take the fall

lastof12

Gross, just gross. Honestly, I checked out on my favorite team this past season. I might have watched one Sox game total. This ineptitude is making me seek other things to do. On a bright side, I got lots o’ work done!

Sigh: I’d love to have watchable WS baseball again.

Jeff

Only in Sox-land does this level of incompetence get rewarded.  I should say White Sox.  Don row ski gets canned one year after winning a WS.

This squashed my tiny bit of optimism for this off-season.  

larry

and the fucker wears black socks with brown shoes

As Cirensica

nice seeing you again

GoGoSoxFan

I thought you died.

mvrock

Very good article. I, however, wouldn’t grade Hahn as harshly as these FA “results” would indicate. Why? Becaause the Whitesox were trying to tank the last few years of this analysis. Hahn wasn’t trying to sign impact, long-term pieces. He was trying to find placeholders while not losing 120 games. Getting middling FA is bound to be really hit or miss, especially when there isn’t much existing on the roster to cover for a FA’s shortcomings (Beef Castillo hitting cleanup with John Jay hitting 5th?).

Also, I was never as exercised on the Sox missing on Machado as most of the fanbase. Fans reflexively go back to “Jerry’s cheap” with one in these comments saying the Sox aren’t willing to offer “modern contracts.” I’m sorry, $250 Million guaranteed over 8 years with $75 more million in vesting options available over 2 more is more than respectable and definitely meets the criteria of a “modern contract.” It wasn’t enough to close the deal, period. But, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a respectable or competitive offer. Where the Whitesox and Hahn went wrong was by constantly stating publicly that they were ready to put on their big boy pants and be players. Honestly, if the Sox pursuit of Machado wasn’t so darn public then I don’t think people would be so upset by the Sox not landing him. In many ways I’m thankful the Sox didn’t land him because it left that money for pitching AND it allowed YoYo to find a home at third.

My worry is that, in true Whitesox fashion, the Sox will sign Rendon for the Machado money and end up having to create a position for Moncada. The Whitesox still haven’t figured out that the concept of positionless/interchangeable baseball does not mean defenseless baseball.

Now, giving Jim his due on a great article, I do believe one of the biggest problems with the Sox has been their pro scouting. Hopefully the shuffling in that department earlier this year will start bearing fruit. Also, the Sox absolutely could have won the Machado sweepstakes. They lost, in my opinion, not because they were “cheap,” but because they felt the need to “win” the deal, meaning having Machado sign for less than his agent publicly stated they were looking for.

Trooper Galactus

In case you didn’t notice, a lot of Hahn’s “placeholders” couldn’t even give them a full season. His biggest signing of the tank years promptly got suspended for PEDs and stunk, and his presence prevented the team from evaluating young talent further for some reason. Two of his most prominent acquisitions last offseason were cut from the a roster that couldn’t produce even a replacement level player at either position.

Regardless of the circumstances, Hahn has fucking sucked at acquiring veteran players.

mvrock

Well, it hasn’t been good. That’s for sure. That’s why I stated that one of the Sox’s biggest problems has been their pro scouting department.