The man in charge of the Chicago White Sox may have changed, but the strategy appears to be the same. Rick Hahn, who has taken over as team GM for Kenny Williams, started the offseason with a pair of moves that suggest that he will be as averse to a ground-up rebuilding project as his predecessor was.
Hahn's decision to pick up Gavin Floyd's $9.5 million option and to re-sign Jake Peavy to a two-year, $29 million deal signal the team's commitment to reloading over rebuilding. As he begins his tenure as the head man, Hahn is choosing to stay the course of previous management, for better or for worse.
Hahn elected not to pick up options on Kevin Youkilis or Brett Meyers, though that doesn't rule out the possibility of the White Sox pursuing either player. When it comes to picking up pieces of the 2013 puzzle, it looks like Hahn is going to approach his shopping in a Williams-like manner.
That really shouldn't come as a surprise. Hahn labored under Williams for over ten years. It stands to reason that the two may share a similar philosophy. Both men are taking their marching orders from Jerry Reinsdorf, so the idea of a total youth movement may not be in the cards.
The fact remains that Hahn could have said goodbye to Floyd and Peavy as well as A.J. Pierzynski, traded a hot player like Alex Rios and started over with younger, cheaper players. The jury is still out on Pierzynski, who has filed for free agency. However, if Hahn is going to continue in the direction he has chosen with the pitching staff, the cast could be very similar next season.
Peavy put together a solid season, and though $14.5 million is a bit pricey, it is a discount from the last three seasons. It's a roll of the dice in terms of his surgically-repaired arm, but one that doesn't sting quite as much if it doesn't work out.
Hahn must be assuming that the elbow problems that landed Floyd on the disabled list several times in 2012 will not be an issue. That will be evident one way or another next summer, but for now the message I pick up is that he is not brimming with confidence in the starters down on the farm.
We will soon find out if Hahn has a propensity to spin the trade wheel like the old boss. However, when it comes to rebuilding, the early returns suggest that attempting to build for now rather than later is still going to be the policy of the White Sox GM.
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