White Sox

Rick Hahn leaves door open for more White Sox moves

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Rick Hahn leaves door open for more White Sox moves

After a flurry of moves was made in December, the White Sox offseason has hit a lengthy lull that has caused some frustration among fans.

Whether it’s missing on Yoenis Cespedes and Alex Gordon or no significant position player acquisitions since mid-December, White Sox fans have grumbled about the team’s inactivity, with some of that irritation surfacing in the club’s town hall event Friday at SoxFest.

General manager Rick Hahn made it seem as if those fans aren’t alone. Disappointed by empty pursuits of several free agents he said decided to stay home, a clear reference to Cespedes and Gordon, Hahn said the White Sox roster isn’t complete.

He wouldn’t make any promises. But ideally, Hahn said, he’d like to continue adding to a roster that already upgraded at three positions with the acquisitions of Todd Frazier, Brett Lawrie and catchers Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro -- moves that were completed by Dec. 16.

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“It’s frustrating from the standpoint in that we haven’t been able to convert on any targets,” Hahn said. “But it’s been atypically busy for January, I suspect probably into February even. We talk about at the winter meetings, there’s no urgency that says we have to do the deal at the winter meetings and we were able to get Todd Frazier a week later. When we acquire them makes zero impact on how many games we are going to win with Todd Frazier.

“Traditionally we do have everything we want to do done by SoxFest. For whatever reason … it has been a little slower evolving in segments. So there still is the possibility we are going to have changes before camp or Opening Day.”

For now, Hahn is happy with how the team is constructed. Frazier and Lawrie are projected to produce 5.5 Wins Above Replacement at spots where the White Sox combined for minus-2.5 WAR, the worst in baseball. The team’s catchers also are expected to out-produce last year’s grouping.

Still, Hahn wouldn’t say a club that is projected to win 84-85 games is without its flaws. Depth is an issue and questions surround whether or not outfielder Avisail Garcia -- who may have heard a few boos during the event’s opening ceremony on Friday -- can contribute enough.

In order for the White Sox to take advantage of an outstanding starting rotation, Hahn needs Garcia to live up to his potential -- “there are specific things he needs to work on and he knows that,” Hahn said -- and for a rebound from Adam LaRoche, whom one fan asked why he hadn’t been cut. While Hahn responded that he told manager Robin Ventura there are no scholarships, he also said he wouldn’t simply cut a player in the offseason before they had a chance to show what ability they might still possess.

[MORE: Chris Sale likes the direction White Sox are taking]

Even so, Hahn wants to add more pieces to give Ventura better options -- if they can make it work.

“I’m not sure which of the 30 clubs is going to tell you they have enough depth,” Hahn said. “We want to get to the point where it’s self-sustained, where your young players on the upper levels can jump in where there is an injury or underperformance. And we are getting to the spot with some of these guys that in a pinch they can come up and help us. But like everyone else we need to target depth at the upper levels as insurance policies. Sometimes those happen in March when players don’t make clubs. There’s some shuffling. That process never ends.”

“The more options, the easier it is for Robin to go with the best lineup. So if there is -- whether it’s the group that we have today or another addition -- it will create a situation where the best guys are going to play.”

As for some of those better players the White Sox pursued, Hahn -- who makes a practice of not commenting on rumors -- seemed bothered by reports the White Sox wouldn’t offer deals longer than three years to free agents. Though he never specifically said Gordon’s name, Hahn said the team pursued free agents who returned to their old clubs until they signed. Gordon returned to Kansas City earlier this month and Cespedes rejoined the New York Mets last week.

[RELATED: Robin Ventura thinks White Sox can be 'dangerous' in 2016]

“Let me make something real clear: there is absolutely no hard line, dogma limit on contract terms with free agents,” Hahn said. “The reason we didn’t sign any of the players that thus far have signed elsewhere, at the end of the day was not about any contract term limitations. We had numerous conversations with various parameters, various structures, right up until the day or day before these players wound up choosing their ultimate destination.

“Every free agent negotiation is different, every player evaluation is different in how they fit for us, what they could bring going forward and what the market for their services is. And that’s what dictates what limits we put on where we’re willing to go.”

MLB The Show: White Sox avoid sweep, walk-off division-leading Twins

MLB The Show: White Sox avoid sweep, walk-off division-leading Twins

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Result: White Sox def. Twins, 6-5
Record: 29-31, 3rd in A.L. Central (3.5 GB of Twins)

W: Alex Colome (2-1)
L: Trevor May (0-2)

Game summary: Michael Kopech started for the White Sox on Sunday and was met with trouble immediately. Byron Buxton homered off the flame-throwing righty, and two batters later, Jorge Polanco doubled to bring in Max Kepler and make it 2-0 Twins. The trouble continued for Kopech in the second, as Miguel Sano hit a big fly to the left field bleachers.

The Sox bats came alive in the second, when Yasmani Grandal singled to center to bring in two runs, closing the deficit to one. They scored three runs in the next two innings behind the bats of Eloy Jimenez and Jose Abreu, who both singled to drive in runs. Jimenez continues to lead the league in RBIs (58) and also leads the league with 22 home runs.

After Alex Colome blew the save in the ninth with a 5-3 lead, the White Sox were in need of a hero in the bottom of the frame. Grandal came up clutch with an RBI single to score Luis Robert, giving the South Siders a 6-5 win to avoid being swept by the division-leading Twins.

White Sox lineup:

Edwin Encarnacion: 3-5, 2B (.323 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 3-5, 2 RBI (.276 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 1-5 (.260 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 0-3, 2 BB (.256 BA)
Jose Abreu: 3-4, RBI, BB (.306 BA)
Tim Anderson: 1-5 (.296 BA)
Luis Robert: 2-5, 2 2B (.236 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 3-3, 3 RBI, 2 BB (.319 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 1-4 (.243 BA)

Scoring summary:

Top first:

Byron Buxton homered to center field. 1-0 MIN.
Jorge Polanco doubled to right field, Max Kepler scored. 2-0 MIN.

Top second:

Miguel Sano homered to left field. 3-0 MIN.

Bottom second:

Yasmani Grandal singled to center field, Jose Abreu and Luis Robert scored. 3-2 MIN.

Bottom third:

Abreu singled to center field, Eloy Jimenez scored. 3-3.

Bottom fourth:

Jimenez singled to center field, Grandal and Nomar Mazara scored. 5-3 CHW.

Top ninth:

Eddie Rosario doubled to center field, Mitch Garver scored. 5-4 CHW.
Luis Arraez singled to center field, Rosario scored. 5-5.

Bottom ninth:

Grandal singled to right field, Robert scored. 6-5 CHW.

Notable performance: The White Sox were an offensive juggernaut in May, hitting .301 as a team with 60 home runs and 187 RBIs. They went 17-12 after going 12-19 in the first two months of the season.

Next game: Tuesday, June 2 - Game 61: White Sox at Royals (Lucas Giolito, 3-7, 5.10 ERA vs Brad Keller, 3-5, 4.42 ERA)

MLB The Show: White Sox fall behind big early, drop second straight to Twins

MLB The Show: White Sox fall behind big early, drop second straight to Twins

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Result: Twins def. White Sox 10-4
Record: 28-31, 3rd in A.L. Central (4.0 GB of Twins)

W: Rich Hill (4-4)
L: Reynaldo Lopez (5-2)

Game summary: All good things must come to an end. In the case of the White Sox' winning streak, things have come to an abrupt end. A day after the Twins put up 11 runs in the first two innings, Minnesota jumped on Chicago early again.

Reynaldo Lopez failed to make it out of the fourth inning. The Twins harassed him with singles a plenty, including RBI base knocks from Alex Avila and Miguel Sano in the second and fourth innings. Then, the big blow came from Jorge Polanco, whose grand slam gave Minnesota a 7-1 lead before the final out of the fourth. Lopez' day came to an end. 

Yasmani Grandal hit a pair of solo home runs in the third and fifth. Yoan Moncada added a couple more runs on a late two-run blast but the White Sox dropped their second straight to the Twins to fall four games back of the division leaders.

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White Sox lineup

Edwin Encarnacion: 0-3 (.316 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 1-4, R (.269 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 2-4, HR (12), 2 RBI, R (.261 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 1-4 (.261 BA)
Jose Abreu: 2-4, 2B (.298 BA)
Tim Anderson: 0-4 (.298 BA)
Luis Robert: 0-4 (.232 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 3-4, 2 HR (21), 2 RBI, 2 R (.309 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 0-3 (.243 BA)

Scoring summary: 

Top first

Luis Arraez grounded into double play, Byron Buxton scored. 1-0 MIN.

Top second

Alex Avila singled to right field, Josh Donaldson scored. 2-0 MIN.

Bottom third

Yasmani Grandal homered to left field. 2-1 MIN.

Top fourth

Miguel Sano singled to left field, Eddie Rosario scored. 3-1 MIN.
Jorge Polanco homered to right field, Sano, Max Kepler and Avila scored. 7-1 MIN.
Nelson Cruz homered to center field, Arraez scored. 9-1 MIN.

Bottom fifth

Grandal homered to center field. 9-2 MIN.

Bottom sixth

Yoan Moncada homered to center field, Eloy Jimenez scored. 9-4 MIN.

Top eighth

Polanco homered to left field. 10-4 MIN.

Notable performance: With his two homers on Saturday, Grandal now has 21 on the season, which trails only teammate Eloy Jimenez for the team lead. Grandal is third in the AL in RBIs (49) and leads the league in WAR (4.5). Not too shabby for the eight-hole hitter.

Next game: Sunday, May 31 - Game 60: Twins vs White Sox (Devin Smeltzer, 6-2, 2.42 ERA vs Michael Kopech, 0-0, 3.78 ERA)

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