Andrew Nelles/Associated Press
Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has a plan. Namely, he needs to make the club younger, faster, more athletic and, of course, able to win games.
He is stuck in the middle on all four counts.
Yes, the White Sox are a younger team with the additions of Adam Eaton, Adrian Nieto and Jose Abreu, They still have Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko on the roster, however. True, neither will be back next season, so the team is on the path toward getting younger.
The White Sox aren’t really a faster or more athletic team, either. Sure Eaton and Alexei Ramirez can run, but the rest of the batting order is largely a collection of station-to-station lumberjacks. Getting Avisail Garcia back next season will be huge, and the club has several minor leaguers who can burn, meaning next year’s squad figures to be much faster.
As far as winning baseball games is concerned, the White Sox are making progress. True, they struggle to stay around .500, but they are dynamic, energetic and have made a habit of scoring runs late in games, which is the hallmark of a competitive team.
There is progress being made, however, and it earned Hahn the praise of Jesse Spector of Sporting News, which recently ranked him No. 13 among MLB general managers. Spector wrote:
Charged with the task of a potentially painful rebuild, Hahn got a good return last year for Jake Peavy and added a potential franchise-changing international player in Jose Abreu while his counterparts in rebuilding in Chicago whiffed on Masahiro Tanaka. While there is no doubt the White Sox are still some time away from being contenders, they have an entertaining team in the meantime that is fostering an organizational identity that will serve them well, with the knowledge that building a successful bullpen will be the last piece of the puzzle.
And that’s just it. There is an identity growing on the South Side and a light at the end of the tunnel.
Whether or not the White Sox become a perennial contender is a question that will be answered in due time, but there is no mistaking the fact that Hahn has his club heading in the right direction.