Spare Parts: Rick Hahn confirms need for more pitching

It’s been a minute since we’ve last heard from Rick Hahn. It was right before MLB’s self-imposed lockout began. Almost 100 days, Hahn had to wait patiently for business to open back up again. Now that the lockout has ended with a new CBA in hand, Hahn still has opportunities to tweak an already strong roster with World Series aspirations.

Hahn expects almost everyone to arrive on Sunday in Glendale for Spring Training camp. By the looks on Twitter, Tim Anderson and Andrew Vaughn are already taking batting practice.

Visa issues that may delay arrival for some players, but the White Sox should be in full swing starting on Monday. The first Spring Training game is scheduled for next Friday, March 18, against the Chicago Cubs.

All White Sox fans really want to know is how quickly Hahn will address the areas of need? Remaining steadfast that the organization likes their roster heading into Spring Training, Hahn was also transparent that the front office would explore all avenues in finding improvements. Starting with what he thinks is the biggest roster concern: Pitching.

As Jim wrote in this morning’s column, it’s expected that Carlos Rodón will be pitching in another team’s uniform in 2022. That leaves a hole within the five-man starting rotation, and the working assumption is Michael Kopech is ready to step in. Going down the line, Reynaldo Lopez or Garrett Crochet take Kopech’s role as the swingman, and if anyone gets hurt, well, that’s where the trouble begins for the White Sox. However, they will not be the only team concerned about pitching depth with a short ramp-up period to the regular season. They also might not be in a hurry to move Craig Kimbrel for that reason.

The best available starting pitching options may have to come via a trade. A lot of eyes within the industry are focused on Oakland. With the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees increasing their interest in first baseman Freddie Freeman, the Athletics will have interested suitors in their All-Star first baseman, Matt Olson. They deal Olson, and the assumption is other dominos will begin to fall from their roster. Including two starting pitchers, LHP Sean Manaea and RHP Chris Bassitt. Both are entering their final year of team control and will be free agents after the 2022 season.

Even though Hahn did state that he’s currently happy with the roster on hand, there was instant confirmation when asked if he made a call as soon as the lockout ended.

Activity should pick up even though it’s not moving as rapidly as many assumed it would immediately after the lockout.

Rumors & Rumblings

Craig Mish of the Miami Herald is reporting that the Marlins are actively pursuing Pittsburgh Pirates OF Bryan Reynolds.

Bryce Harper may have other ideas for the fans who would love to see Kris Bryant return to Chicago in a Sox uniform. According to Jon Heyman, Harper is trying to recruit his friend to join the Philadelphia Phillies.

If you had RHP Drew VerHagen as the first free agent to sign after the lockout ended, go ahead and collect your winnings. After spending the previous two seasons pitching for the Nippon Ham Fighters, VerHagen signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. He’ll be competing for a spot in the Cardinals starting rotation.

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Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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a-t

I wonder who the immediate call to player/agent was. Sox have been playing FA tight to the chest in recent years, so might be something unexpected like Seiya Suzuki or a re-reunion with Rodon

calcetinesblancos

I’ve been praying for Suzuki. I do think that if they’re after him, there’s little to be gained by making the pursuit public.

Augusto Barojas

Well Rodon is out, which probably is not a bad thing. Suzuki is rumored to 5 teams without mention of the Sox, so seems very unlikely they are in on him, much as I wish they were.

Trooper Galactus

Suzuki to the Blue Jays. Another option off the board.

dwjm3

“Pitching concerns are a little bit heavier on our minds than position players,” said Hahn.

Cryptic messages like this from Hahn are a reminder that I didn’t miss hearing form him over the last 100 days.

jhomeslice

No kidding. His comments just remind of how disappointing their offseason has been. They can use pitching, but they need a major leauge starting 2b and certainly do not have one on the roster.

Willardmarshall

What exactly *are* “visa issues”? And why do they continue to arise every spring?

Foulkelore

Rodon is signing with the Giants: two years, $44 million, with an opt out after 1 year.

jorgefabregas

That seems like a team that give him the best shot at maximizing his potential. Good deal.

calcetinesblancos

Kinda sad, kinda relieved. I want to see what some of our younger pitching can do this year.

asinwreck

The perfect landing spot. Highly successful team, and the pitching program is where Katz came from before immediately suggesting major improvements. The park’s not a bad place to pitch, either.

I think he’ll be great in San Francisco.

jhomeslice

I’m thankful the Sox didn’t go after him. I wish him well but he hasn’t lasted a full season in 7 years, a bit of a pattern there. He piched very little in August and Sept and still could barely last 2 innings in October. They can’t afford expensive and injury prone guys who can’t help in the playoffs. Not for 22M.

Last edited 4 months ago by jhomeslice
snoopy369

Happy he went to SF – both because I now live in the Bay Area and can watch him (perhaps against the Sox July 4th weekend!) and because the Sox didn’t need the “maybe” that he seems to always offer (unfortunately).

jorgefabregas

White Sox don’t seem to be involved in any rumors. Boring!

dwjm3

It is somewhat worrying. Sometimes they are able to operate under the radar (ie Grandal) but I tend to find when we get late into free agency and they aren’t connected to much the reporting is often accurate.

Trooper Galactus

Austin Jackson to the White Sox confirmed.

Alfornia Jones

Hahn was probably told he could exercise Kimbrell’s option or QO Rodon, not both. A 2 yr deal for 44mil is the perfect deal for a team that doesn’t like long term deals, hard to believe FO people couldn’t get this done. Rodon’s last pitch in the ALDS was around 100 mph; he certainly had fatigue issues related to recovery, but last year is proof of a positive recovery. Even if he’s only a 5 IP pitcher, this is how much it costs. He’s a good fit because they five other 5 IP pitchers who shouldn’t see the lineup the third time.

jhomeslice

He barely lasted 2 innings in the playoffs, and that was without going more than 5 innings after the middle of July, and with more than 2 weeks rest prior to pitching in the playoffs. Very glad the Sox did not risk throwing 20M into a hole. Just hoping they will upgrade the roster that fell flat in October, or going farther this year is a pipe dream.

burning-phoneix

It’s been so long that I can barely remember the roster let alone our trade needs LOL

shaggy65

Thank goodness our positional needs have been the same for several seasons! Makes it much easier to keep up…