NASHVILLE, Tenn. — They might have added a pair of catchers and a versatile infielder with pop, but the White Sox want more offense.
Shortly after they acquired Brett Lawrie from the Oakland A’s on Wednesday night, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said the team’s offensive upgrade isn’t yet complete. While Hahn never discusses specifics, he offered that the team is still in pursuit of other targets and intends to continue trying to infuse more offense into a unit that underwhelmed in 2015.
The White Sox finished 76-86 last season in large part because of an offense that scored 3.84 runs per game (an American League worst).
“We want to keep adding and keep improving the offense,” Hahn said. “We’re pleased with the improvements we’ve made thus far, but in our minds we hope to continue and don’t feel we’re done.”
Though the moves they have made this offseason don’t have the same panache as what they did a year ago in San Diego, the White Sox have definitely improved.
With the additions of Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro, the White Sox believe their catchers should surpass the combined production of 2015’s group, which ranked 17th in the majors with a.656 OPS.
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They also have little doubt Lawrie can help them improve upon the combined .611 OPS of the team’s third baseman, which was worst in the majors in 2015 — if they keep Lawrie at third. During his media session, Hahn wouldn’t commit to playing Lawrie at third base, suggesting he could also see time at second base, where he has played 80 games.
Prior to acquiring Lawrie, the White Sox were in pursuit of three other third baseman, including Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier. Unlike fellow target Asdrubal Cabrera, who later signed with the New York Mets, Frazier is still available via trade.
With potentially three picks in the first 45 of next summer’s draft, the White Sox would prefer to hang on to all, which means they wouldn’t sign a free agent with a qualifying offer. Instead, the team is likelier to continue pursuing players in trade, though Frazier’s exorbitant cost — the Reds want shortstop Tim Anderson to start — minimizes the chances of a deal to the White Sox.
Still, Hahn and his crew have spent this week at the Winter Meetings lining up a series of potential moves with all sorts of contingencies. Though they’ve already made three acquisitions, Hahn sounds as if he has more in store.
“We have other irons in the fire,” Hahn said. “We continue to look at other options and ways to get better. Obviously we feel this helps improve us offensively as well as defensively.”