Following up: Rick Hahn makes no promises

While Rick Hahn’s critique of a sector of the fan base on the White Sox Talk Podcast was just that, there was also a little bit of self-admonishment baked into it. He was the one who said toward the onset of the rebuild — quite reasonably — that by trading so many core players on outstanding contracts, the talent he received in return would allow the Sox to accelerate the rebuilding process.

That hasn’t really happened, so Hahn seems to have chosen to underpromise with hopes that he can overdeliver. He met with reporters before the start of the homestand and did what he could to not commit to anything.

Will the White Sox compete in 2020?

“Let’s talk in Glendale, let’s see what we wind up doing this offseason,” Hahn said, pledging to discuss the offseason vision a bit more at the end of the season. “There’s a lot to be excited about. In terms of putting ourselves in a position to contend, let’s get to the offseason and then set some priorities and see how good we are being able to convert on hitting those priorities before we assess it.”

Will Luis Robert come up before then?

“We have made no decisions on the call-up list (for September) or the ultimate call-up list. We will have to make a list soon about who we decide to call up.” […]

“With Luis, he has already exceeded what we would have considered an outstanding season for him,” Hahn said. “Whether we decide to add a fourth level for him this year, that wasn’t really on the table when we left Glendale in March. A successful season reaching Double-A would have been considered a success. Sometimes the really good ones force your hands a little bit. At the start of the season, that was a slim chance to think he would be where he is at.”

The decision regarding the latter seems to inform the front office’s overall ambition level. If the White Sox are counting on Robert being a part of the 2020 surge, then it makes sense to learn some lessons from MLB pitching in 2019 and understand his weaknesses heading into the offseason. Everybody’s counting on Eloy Jiménez to absorb his rookie year struggles over the winter the way Yoan Moncada did, and they’re watching Zack Collins go about a similar process with his demotion to Triple-A. There’s a strong argument for letting Robert benefit from a more immediate reflection period, especially to maximize the remainder of Moncada’s team control.

Alas, Hahn looks like he’s carrying his lack of urgency all the way to the finish, and framing the response of those watching as “impatience,” rather than “baseline expectations for a professional sports franchise.”

* * * * * * * * *

Players’ Weekend is here, and Lucas Giolito will have the same custom nameplate on his jersey — “Big Foot”– as he did last year when all said and done.

But there’s a reason why Giolito wasn’t on the initial, official list of player monikers — he’s among a number of players who will be paying tribute to late Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

For one game this weekend, Yelich, Braun, Moustakas, Fried, Flaherty, Giolito and Heineman will wear “LOVE YOU TY” on the backs of their jerseys, while Chavez and Corbin will be wearing “FORTY FIVE” (Skaggs’ jersey number) for a nickname with their own jersey number underneath.

Giolito’s already been processing the death of his friend by dancing more, which he said Skaggs did all the time in the weight room. James Fegan observed that Giolito is still adhering to that message:

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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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ForsterFTOG

Listening to this buffoon is exhausting.

Patrick Nolan

Hey man, if you don’t like Jim, plenty of other sites to read. Show some respect, at least.

As Cirensica

And here I thought he referred to RH. Taking back my +1

Patrick Nolan

He did refer to RH, I was making a joke.

vanillablue

They aren’t gonna do anything this offseason. Hahn is buying himself as much time as possible by framing the rebuild as a 5 year process. He’s doing everything possible to tamp down expectations until 2021.

Neat_on_the_rocks

Last week he even threw the “5-7 year process” moniker out there. Was surprised that money quote didnt get more traction.

Ridiculous. They’ve already decided that they’ll be happy to be the 2015 era royals.

35Shields

7 years is absolutely fucking insane.

7 years to build a contender means that we have one good year before we lose Moncada, Giolito and Lopez (not to mention Rodon, who’ll already have been gone for two years at that point).

roke1960

Hahn doesn’t care. He’s got a lifetime job. So 7 years is nothing for him.

35Shields

Oh I understand. This franchise is just such a joke.

roke1960

It truly is.

lil jimmy

Yeah, but not his lifetime. Jerry’s lifetime. That quite a bit shorter.

GoGoSoxFan

I think JR will live to 110 just to spite us all (and to make his great-great-great grand kids another $3 billion).

roke1960

Every winter I go into the offseason excited about what the FO might do, and every spring I am thoroughly disappointed. I foolishly read Hahn’s quote optimistically about adding this winter, but Knoxfire straightened me out. If Hahn is consistent, resigning Nova and Abreu will be his big moves.

andyfaust

When was the last winter you came away happy with what the front office had done? For me, I think it was five years ago. Heading into the 2015 season, they acquired Samardzijia, Melky, Robertson, and Adam LaRoche. Both LaRoche’s actually (Andy). Wait… all three, I suppose, since you gotta count the kid. Pretty embarrassing to admit it now but I thought for sure all that tinkering would get them up to mid 90’s in wins. Oops. I guess I was optimistic/pleased two years later, when the teardown began, but that’s a different type of excitement entirely.

roke1960

That offseason was a good one by Sox standards. Unfortunately, they still were too cheap to spend on premium guys. The best offseason I could remember was when they added Jermaine Dye, Scott Podsednik, Iguchi and AJ, coupled with the acquisition of Freddy Garcia during the previous season. Hmmm, how did they do that year?

andyfaust

sure, that offseason was fantastic in retrospect. And if you knew before opening day that every move they made would turn into gold, then you’re a pretty smart guy. But that wasn’t my question. The question was basically, when was the last time, if ever, the FO fooled you into thinking they might be good that upcoming year?

roke1960

I guess I would put 2015 into that category. Adding a #2 or 3 pitcher in Samardzija, a good closer in Robertson and two decent bats to what they had, I thought would give them a chance. But I guess I can’t remember any offseason where they really exceeded expectations. They haven’t added any really top of the market free agents since Albert Belle.

roke1960

Had they signed Scherzer instead of trading for Samardzija in 2015, then I would have been super excited.

Greg Nix

I was happy with the Sale and Eaton trades. Before that is was probably signing Adam Dunn (lol). The Sox tend not to make offseason moves I agree with.

Trooper Galactus

I was happy with the Dunn signing, but I got double-hyped when they re-signed Konerko because I thought the Dunn signing meant they were letting Paulie walk.

andyfaust

haha, guilty here too (raises hand) If i remember correctly, he even homered on opening day, briefly justifying my happiness about it. that sandbagging son of a bitch.

roke1960

I was another one that liked the Dunn signing. Of course, I also liked the Jeff Keppinger signing a few years later. Is there anyone that Hahn has signed that has actually gotten better with the Sox besides James McCann?

Trooper Galactus

Anthony Swarzak and Miguel Gonzalez, most recently. Not exactly huge wins, but definitely got better when they came here.

lil jimmy

Adam Eaton

Trooper Galactus

I’d agree, but Eaton wasn’t a signing.

lil jimmy

True, traded Hector, then got Gio, Lopez, and Dunning when trading him away. a neat trick really.

Trooper Galactus

Just think of what we’ll get when we trade Gio, Lopez, and Dunning!

roke1960

Maybe we can get Adam Eaton back!

Trooper Galactus

I was excited for Smarch and Melky (though I had reservations given his one great year was PED-enhanced), but I looked at the Laroche signing as addressing a non-need with a mediocre player.

roke1960

…And regarding Robert, Hahn’s quote has sealed it. We won’t be seeing him til next May.

Trooper Galactus

More like July. He needs at least enough AAA experience to get past the Super-Two deadline before he’s REALLY ready for the bigs.

andyfaust

Ha yes. Checking those boxes seems to always last up until the super two deadline has passed, strangely.

Neat_on_the_rocks

I’d be shocked if they let it go on that long. It would be come a huge league wide story by then.

Of Course, the FO has shocked me before.

ForsterFTOG

White Sox Baseball: No one hits free agency before 30!

HallofFrank

This is interesting, because I had the opposite reaction.

If they’ve decided to keep him down, why not say so? He could have given the fatigue and the 4 levels reasons and been done with it. Stops the questions and speculations, and it seems more legit than if you say the same thing in 2 weeks. 

Trooper Galactus

Never mind that fatigue is perhaps the dumbest excuse Hahn has given. The guy is pounding out bombs, covering tons of ground in center field, stealing bases at a healthy clip, but yeah, fatigue is a concern so let’s just keep trotting him out in meaningless AAA games because they’re in a playoff race and he might be able to play in the postseason with still greater fatigue!

knoxfire30

Hahn should be forced to read anything he is going to say publicly 3 times in
front of a mirror, if at that point he doesnt realize how stupid he sounds he should start over again for another 3 times.

Trooper Galactus

If he does that will Dave Stewart appear to give him advice?

knoxfire30

perfect

lil jimmy

the advice would be,
Find Annie Lennox , start a band. Call them Eurythmics. make a bundle.
Boom, Steak dinner!

As Cirensica

….hopefully.

lifelongjd

I don’t mind the reserved way he’s communicating. Who knows who will end up actually being available in terms of free agency or trade?  

There is a lot to be excited about for 2020 and overall there has been a lot of positives to build off of. There are some major questions about our personnel that can only sort themselves out on the field and that will bleed into next season, unfortunately. Are the top tier prospects truly good?  Is the second tier going to develop into valuable pieces? Will our pitching depth that has been ravaged by injuries return to form?

I do agree that ownership must start showing a financial commitment to this rebuild after the hundreds of millions they’ve pocketed the last 3-4 years. I would love a front line starter like Cole and someone like Ozuna in RF. 

Trooper Galactus

What do you mean who knows who will end up being available in free agency in trade? EVERYBODY knows who the free agents will be at this point, and one can reasonably assume players who are available in trade if they’re fleshing out a potential roster for next season.

lifelongjd

Not sure why the aggression. Last I checked there are quite a few players with options that can be exercised. Sometimes players sign quickly with current teams.  Or teams decide to tear it down and trade valuable assets (like Miami 2 years ago).   Not trying to start an argument. Just saying I don’t expect the guy to lay out the off-season strategy in August before all facts or available pieces are known. 

lil jimmy

as Ed McMahon would say “You are correct sir!”

GoGoSoxFan

Carnac the Magnificent would know.. .

GrabSomeBench

I would go a step further and say that Hahn has no reason to announce his plans to the world. Why tell your competition what you are going to do? That said, the front office always takes an approach that is less aggressive than I would like to see.
Will they sign Cole and MadBum this offseason? Doubtful when they can sign Nova and tell us Kopech will be ready.
Will they sign Didi if he’s available? Doubtful. Instead we can expect to see Schoop with the Hahn seal of approval.

lifelongjd

Why sign Cole AND MadBum when you have Kopech, Rodon, and Dunning returning from injury? Plus you have LG, Rey, and Cease slotted in already. Also, you have a couple other intriguing arms like Lambert, Flores, Stiever, Pilkington and (gulp) Hansen on the verge?  I know you can’t have enough pitching, but I don’t want to block some of these guys either. 

roke1960

I would like to add one proven veteran to the staff now. Whether that is Cole or Wheeler or Bumgarner or Hamels, having too much pitching vs. not enough is definitely better. Plus, if enough guys work out, Rey could be a very valuable late inning guy throwing 100mph if he only had to pitch an inning.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Having good prospects blocked by good players is a good thing.

lil jimmy

are you saying watching Skole, Goins Covey, and Yolmer start is not a good thing?

karkovice squad

A) Returning from injury isn’t returned from injury.
B) Have you seen how many starters it takes to get through a season now?
C) Part of signing veterans is the idea that you’re adding more certainty to your projections by getting relatively known quantities.
D) Might be a better way of improving the bullpen than signing relievers given how those signings have panned out recently.

lifelongjd

Understood. Just saying, we gave up a lot of capital and lost a lot of games for this talent. Might as well see what they can do. 

35Shields

A) Returning from injury isn’t returned from injury.

Thank you. It’s incredible to me how many Sox fans seem to think that Kopech and Dunning will 1) pick up right where they left off and 2) immediately start contributing at the major league level.

#1 seems incredible seeing given the abysmal recent record of WS pitchers/prospects coming back from injury (Rodon, Hansen, Burdi, Jones).

#2 seems incredible because the White Sox are still waiting for a single one of their prospects to perform from day 1. Every prospect they’ve called up has taken their lumps for at least half a season.

35Shields

I’m not sure how you can actually expect Rodon to be a contributor next season. He’s thrown 39 starts in the last *three* years.

Kopech and Dunning are coming back from TJS and the Sox most recent TJS rehab hasn’t pitched in two months and had a 6.75 ERA in AA before that. Dunning hasn’t even pitched in AAA yet. Very optimistically, he could be up by the All Star break.

Trooper Galactus

Oh, you silly “glass half empty” people.

metasox

Plus we don’t know what Cease will do in his first full season, and Lopez is still a bit of an enigma. As of now, Giolito may be the only starter who is a good bet to be better than average next season

digger0910

Just spent a minute looking at the 2020 free agent class. Then, because I hate myself apparently, I scrolled through the 2019 class. Man, there sure were some good players available! Then I perused the top 100 prospects list and got to remember all the guys on that list I wanted us to draft, but of course we didn’t. Then I read Jim’s following up again. Ugh. Now I’m going to, I dunno drink some alcohol I guess. 

vince

How the heck did the Bears become the most competently run out of the big four teams?

Trooper Galactus

They fired their GM and brought in a respected football person from outside their organization to search for their next GM. The McCaskeys finally conceded they didn’t know what they were doing and it’s paying off for the franchise.