White Sox

Despite Chris Sale rumors, White Sox say they have contingencies in place for a rebuild

Despite Chris Sale rumors, White Sox say they have contingencies in place for a rebuild

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Though the majority of reports Monday suggested Chris Sale would be the first piece to go in a potential rebuild, the White Sox say they have many contingencies.

The five-time All-Star pitcher was one of the hottest topics on the rumor mill at the first day of the Winter Meetings on Monday and figures to be all week. Tied to numerous teams either vying for his services or reportedly dropping out because of chairman Jerry Reinsdorf’s high-asking price of four can’t-miss prospects, the pursuit of Sale already has been established as one of the offseason’s top stories to follow. But general manager Rick Hahn — whose phone has constantly been recharging after what he describes as an “interesting few weeks” — said the White Sox aren’t limited to one major move to get their offseason underway. As long as someone pays up, the White Sox could deal any one of several players from a top-heavy and talented roster.

“What we are looking to do is deals that put ourselves in the strongest position possible for the long term and there’s no need for Player X to move before Player Y if we get to the right price point on any given deal,” Hahn said.

Hahn continued to make it perfectly clear Monday that the White Sox are interested in long-term moves. The days of quick fixes appear to be over with the hope being that a dramatic paradigm shift could one day prevent the franchise from enduring another eight-year long playoff drought.

The White Sox want to one day be able to provide sound replacements from within their own farm system, something Hahn has preached for years, but hasn’t yet been able to attain. Hahn said he’s encouraged about the potential returns from other teams and the prospect of reloading a thin farm system by trading several of the talented pieces from his roster.

But by no means would the direction the White Sox take be held up by one trade in particular. Given the White Sox have few bad contracts on the books, the team isn’t at a disadvantage of being in a position where it must trade Sale or Jose Quintana. If the White Sox deal either one of their All-Star pitchers or Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, Adam Eaton or anyone else, it would only be after they feel their price has been met.

“I think what we are looking to do is put ourselves in a position for extended success,” Hahn said. “The means for us to do that is by acquiring as much impact, controllable talent as we can over an extended period and continuing the efforts to build us up internationally and through the draft and adding to that potentially via trade.

“It’s not something that’s necessarily going to happen over night. It’s not something that I would expect to be completed while we are here in its entirety. It’s going to be a process potentially that takes some time. …

“We have alternatives in mind and alternative routes for putting the club together. We are pretty confident about what we want to try to accomplish and how that’s going to unfold. …

“We don’t want to be caught in between. But again, we’re not going to force that seven things have to get done or it’s not worth doing one. It’s a process.”

Lucas Giolito’s top 10 games in a White Sox uniform

Lucas Giolito’s top 10 games in a White Sox uniform

Lucas Giolito had a transformative 2019, going from the pitcher with the worst statistics in baseball to the ace of the White Sox staff.

He’s only been on the South Side for a little more than two seasons, but he’s already turned in some impressive performances, many of them, unsurprisingly, from last season.

Click here to see Giolito's 10 best outings in a White Sox uniform.

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A.J. Reed, who played 14 games with the White Sox in 2019, retired

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USA TODAY

A.J. Reed, who played 14 games with the White Sox in 2019, retired

A.J. Reed, the one-time slugging prospect who made his way to the White Sox last season, retired earlier this month.

The news went unnoticed by many, though there it is on the International League's transactions page: Reed, a second-round draft pick in 2014, retired on March 4. He's 26 years old.

The White Sox picked Reed up on a waiver claim midway through last season, taking a flier on a guy who had no trouble racking up home runs in the minor leagues. He hit 34 of them playing at two levels of the Houston Astros organization in 2015, 34 more at Triple-A in 2017 and another 28 at Triple-A in 2018.

But Reed could never make it happen at the major league level, and that includes in the 49 plate appearances he got in just 14 games with the White Sox in 2019. He picked up only six hits, including one home run, and struck out a whopping 21 times.

Reed did manage a highlight in a White Sox uniform. He moved over from first base and pitched in relief during the ninth inning of an 11-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins, retiring all three batters he faced.

He played his final game with the White Sox on Aug. 1 and spent the remainder of the season in Triple-A Charlotte.

In the midst of another rebuilding season, the White Sox were in position to take that sort of a low-risk gamble on Reed and see if they could help him discover something he couldn't at the big league level in Houston. Fans weren't happy watching him struggle at the plate, but that's life in the middle of a rebuild.

Thanks to breakout seasons from so many of their young core players and a busy offseason of big-name veteran additions, the White Sox don't figure to be in such a position again for the foreseeable future.

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