Friday morning the Chicago White Sox announced a major organizational restructuring. Kenny Williams will now assume the role of executive VP for the White Sox and Rick Hahn takes over as senior VP/general manager.
The move has been rumored for some time, but with the official announcement by the White Sox, specific questions naturally arise. For example, what will Hahn do with the 25-man roster?
If Hahn’s comments at the presser are to be taken at face value, rebuilding is not likely.
According to MLB White Sox beat writer Scott Merkin’s Twitter feed, Hahn said that while the team has not set “a final payroll number for next year,” they “expect it to be in the same neighborhood” as the 2012 season.
That leaves a lot of room for the White Sox to retool, not rebuild, their roster and make a run at the AL Central division title in 2013.
See, the Sox ended the 2012 season with a payroll of just under $98 million and already have $72.25 million committed to seven players next season. If Hahn buys out the contracts of Jake Peavy ($4 million), Brett Myers ($3 million) and Kevin Youkilis ($1 million) as expected, he will have roughly $18 million to work with.
Having that amount of capital available will be important as he prepares for the White Sox organizational meetings on Nov. 6, because there are immediate decisions to be made on several other players who were with the team in 2012.
The futures of Gavin Floyd ($9.5 million option) and free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski must still be decided and Hahn must address the back end of the rotation and third base.As the primary contract negotiator the past few seasons, Hahn will bring a fairly unique, yet inexperienced perspective to the GM’s role and one of his greatest challenges may be talent evaluation.
The Chicago Tribunes’ Mark Gonzales noted that Hahn has only recently become involved in the scouting process. That means he will have to rely on advanced scouts and player development personnel as he puts his stamp on the 2013 squad.
Hahn has a tough road ahead of him as he tries to take of a roster that is aging—and incredibly young at the same time—to the next level.
The good news is that it does not sound like Hahn intends to rebuild, he has the resources to be aggressive and an executive VP who hates to lose.