If you have Josh Hamilton or Zack Greinke on your White Sox holiday wish list this year, think again.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said the club isnt in the market at Major League Baseballs winter meetings, which begin Monday, to make a big move just to put butts in the seats. Though Hamilton or Greinke would clearly help any club they join, the White Sox say they wont make a big splash just to try and solve attendance problems.
Last season, the White Sox fell shy of the two-million mark at the turnstiles even though they won 85 games and were in first place for 117 days. It was the first time the White Sox hadnt drawn at least two million fans to U.S. Cellular Field since 2004 and marked a sixth straight season in which attendance declined.
But the club is confident the product isnt the problem after they had a consultant conduct a fan survey last season. Getting to the park and the cost of parking were the big issues for fans. The team has tried to combat their attendance issues with prices decreases for certain tickets and a reduction in the cost of parking.
I firmly believe that if we win, if we put a product on the field that merits the fans patronage, that theyre going to come, Hahn said last week. If its a splashy move it will only be made if its going to help us win more ballgames, which is ultimately the goal. As Ive said before, we have more than enough resources around here to win and its our job to allocate them to gives us the best chance to win, not to allocate them in a way that potentially increases attendance because its something splashy.
27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.
The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.
In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.
Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.
Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.
But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.
While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:
4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen