General manager Rick Hahn and the Chicago White Sox have had a relatively quiet offseason up to this point. So quiet, in fact, that it is easy to question whether or not Hahn has the White Sox headed in the right direction.
No need to worry. Hahn is building the White Sox to compete in the upcoming season and beyond.
What Hahn has done is assemble a team capable of winning the AL Central in 2013 without sacrificing the future.
Make no mistake, the division is there for the Sox to take.
After all, the White Sox have a pitching staff that is built to win. The rotation is woefully underrated, and the bullpen—which was a strength in 2012—only got better with the acquisition of Matt Lindstrom.
Hahn also filled the void at third responsibly. Jeff Keppinger—based on his skill set—suits what the White Sox need much better than Kevin Youkilis.
The lineup lacked a hitter who can sacrifice, has mobility and makes contact on a regular basis in the No. 2 hole. They now have that.
Some—this columnist included—pined for a breathtaking trade to add a left-handed bat in an effort to offset the loss of A.J. Pierzynski. The price to pay would have been too great, though.
To be sure, Tyler Flowers is not the answer, but there is enough talent in the organization, right now, to make 2013 a magical year. Hahn knows this.
There is a method to what he does. In a special contribution to WhiteSox.com on Feb. 4, Bernie Pleskoff had this to say about the first-year GM.
The Chicago White Sox did not transform their roster with massive trades or high-profile free-agent signings this offseason. Rather, senior vice president/general manager Rick Hahn has shared his desire to build a club with a nucleus of players from within the organization. Hahn has emphasized the importance of developing prospects to mix with veterans in forming a club that can consistently compete and contend.
That is an apt description of Hahn’s first few months on the job. It is also what separates him from former GM Kenny Williams. He is letting the process play itself out.
See, the White Sox have a group of men who grew together last season.
If the White Sox fell just short last season, it is because they were young—not playing over their heads. Jake Peavy noted as much last week.
He told Comcast Sports Net’s Chuck Garfien that there was an “immaturity as a club” that contributed to the season-ending collapse. Peavy went on to note that 2013 will be different.
There will be a bigger hunger, a bigger desire going into this year and getting into that situation again. There will be more of a peace and more of a ‘I've been there and I know what it takes to get this thing done.’
He could not be more correct. Had Hahn traded away some of the key components, he would have done the White Sox a disservice.
Hahn has put a lot of faith in the youth on the White Sox roster to continue growing and the veterans to continue leading.
Who am I to argue?
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