Last time Rick Hahn said something similar, it ultimately resulted in the acquisition of Todd Frazier.
Though the White Sox general manager thinks his team has significantly improved its offense with trades for Frazier and Brett Lawrie and the signings of Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro, Hahn’s roster enhancement might not yet be complete. After a three-team trade on Wednesday netted Frazier, a two-time All-Star third baseman, Hahn wouldn’t rule out more moves when asked about available high-profile players.
“We shall see,” Hahn said. “We’re going to continue to be aggressive on numerous fronts and certainly continue to talk to various free agents as well as other clubs about trades, and we’ll have to see how the coming weeks unfold.”
The White Sox always seem to have a surprise move in their bag. You can attribute that to club chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, whom last offseason one baseball source described as a “wild card” because of his desire to win. Following the club’s 99-loss season in 2013, Reinsdorf said he wished it was a just a bad dream.
Few within the industry could have predicted the team’s three-year contract for Melky Cabrera last December, a shocking move that came on the heels of a deal for David Robertson and trade for Jeff Samardzija.
So while the White Sox have improved at second and third base, where they had the lowest OPS in the majors at each spot in 2015, and believe they’ve upgraded at catcher, they might not be done.
Though Jason Heyward already is off the board, attractive free-agent outfielders Justin Upton, Alex Gordon and Yoenis Cespedes are still available.
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After they surrendered Trayce Thompson — their best defensive outfielder — in Wednesday’s deal, the White Sox likely want to improve in that area before the offseason ends.
“We still have a fair amount of time to address that,” Hahn said.
How they’ll address it remains to be seen.
The White Sox have maintained all along they’d like to improve the team without giving away any of their top draft picks. They see their top three picks — all of which should land in the top 45-50 selections of the draft — as a shot in the arm for the farm system.
The team’s first overall pick is protected because the White Sox had the 10th-worst record in the majors last season. But if the White Sox signed Upton or Gordon, they’d have to surrender the compensatory pick — and the all-important signing bonus attached to it — they’ll receive for losing Jeff Samardzija, which is expected to land between No. 25-29 in the draft.
Their preferred method of acquisition this offseason has been through trades or in signing picks that don’t require giving up a pick. But after Wednesday’s move to acquire Frazier, one that makes them more complete than they’ve been in a while, the Reinsdorf competitive factor cannot be ruled out.
“We certainly feel better than we did at the end of the season,” Hahn said. “At the same time, the way we approach things, we are not satisfied at this point. We are going to continue to look for other means of upgrading the club over the coming weeks and months.”