White Sox

Rick Hahn sees importance in transparency as White Sox rebuild

Rick Hahn sees importance in transparency as White Sox rebuild

The White Sox know exactly where they want to head and Rick Hahn spent much of SoxFest weekend laying it out for the team's fans.

With a focus on transparency, the White Sox general manager tried to map out the team's direction as it enters the first phase of what he admits could be a painful rebuild. While the plan doesn't have 100 percent backing from the fanbase after the trades of star players Chris Sale and Adam Eaton in December, the mood at this weekend's event was mostly upbeat as fans fawned over many of the team's new top prospects. 

Still, Hahn knows it won't be easy to sell the idea that the White Sox, who haven't reached the postseason since 2008, expect to get worse before they will improve. But as the team embarks on its first rebuild since 1997, he also thinks the current path is overdue and the most direct to sustained success. 

"We want to compete," Hahn said. "Look, we feel that. We feel that very deeply. And not just from out interactions this weekend or this past week from talking to Sox fans or conversations we haven't had. I feel it in my own home. I had an 11-year old when the Cubs were up [5-1] in Game 2 couldn't go to sleep he was so excited and all he wanted to talk to me about was, ‘When are the White Sox going to be back in the playoffs and how?'"

"There's still going to be entertaining elements of the 2017 season, even if it doesn't wind up that we're competing. But I do feel it's important for us to be as transparent as we can be about what we're trying to accomplish and the timeline it may well take."

Hahn touched on several elements of that timeline over the weekend. Through their two December trades and a strong 2016 draft, the White Sox have vastly improved their farm system. Over the weekend, MLB Pipeline issued its Top 100 rankings with the White Sox boasting six players, including three in the Top 16 in Yoan Moncada (No. 2), Lucas Giolito (No. 12) and Michael Kopech (No. 16). 

[RELATED - White Sox put top prospects on display at SoxFest]

The White Sox hope to add plenty more talent whether through the upcoming draft or more trades. But the latter, Hahn promised, will only come when the White Sox think they're receiving appropriate value. Only Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, Miguel Gonzalez and Derek Holland aren't under team control past this season. 

"There's really no urgency, there's no deadline, there's no financial pressure to make a move," Hahn said. "The only reason to be motivated to make a move is based upon receiving what we feel is appropriate value and helps advance what we're trying to accomplish over the long term."

Hahn also touched on when the long-term plan could begin to take shape when he was asked about the possibility of dipping into free agency by as early as 2018. The 2019 class is expected to include Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

"The 2018 and 2019 free-agent classes are stacked," Hahn said. "A number of players will command nine-figure contracts. …

"We know spending is the final piece of all this. When we get there, we expect the resources to be there."

First-year manager Rick Renteria thought Hahn's message went over well. The two shared the stage for town hall sessions on Friday and Saturday. Beyond that, Renteria's interactions over the weekend — including Sunday's ceviche cook off — went well, he said. 

"The new direction, the things that were done over the winter, (fans have) embraced," Renteria said. "I think Rick did a really nice job kind of articulating the direction of the organization the whole fest. That makes it easier for a manager, everybody involved in the process. I know everybody wants us to try and compete on a daily basis, which is what we're going to try and do. All in all, I think everybody had a great time."

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

In Part 2 of "Ask Us Anything" we answer the following questions: Who will be the biggest free agent the White Sox sign this off-season? What are the chances they trade Avi Garcia before the deadline? What's your assessment so far of Luis Robert?  Who's on your all-time busted prospect list? Is Omar Vizquel the next White Sox manager? Would the 1994 White Sox have won the World Series if there wasn't a strike?  What's the long term plan at third base? These questions and many more on this edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

If you missed Part 1 of 'Ask Us Anything', you can listen to the full episode here 

Listen to the full Part 2 of 'Ask Us Anything' at this link or in the embedded player below: 

 

White Sox catching prospect mentioned in some elite company

White Sox catching prospect mentioned in some elite company

White Sox catching prospect Zack Collins is being talked about in some elite company after a recent accomplishment.

Collins participated in the Southern League Home Run Derby in Double-A earlier this evening for the Birmingham Barons, and he secured his first career home run derby win.

Now, this is cool, thanks to NBC Sports Chicago’s stats guru Chris Kamka: Dating way back to 1895, Babe Ruth was born on Feb. 6, 1895. Collins was born on the same day as Ruth, but 100 years later.

It’s still way too early to make any sort of comparisons, but it’s a fun way to connect the two.

Collins so far this season is hitting .267 with 9 HR, 33 RBI’s and 59 BB in 62 games. Those walks lead the Southern League. The next highest is 39.

Collins is hitting much better than he did when he was with Single-A Winston-Salem last season. Collins hit a mere .233 in 101 games.

Think about this too. Rick Hahn mentioned several White Sox prospects will get promotions in the coming days. Could this mean Collins will get his opportunity? We’ll just have to wait and see.