White Sox

Rick Hahn wants to improve offense even after Lawrie deal

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Rick Hahn wants to improve offense even after Lawrie deal

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.”

ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

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USA TODAY

ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

On Wednesday morning, ESPN.com released their rankings of all 30 MLB team's starting rotations. The rankings were a nod to the current structure of the rotation, as well as how they were likely to perform in the future. And that is why the Chicago White Sox being ranked dead last in the league is somewhat alarming. 

Overall, the White Sox rotation is 28th in WHIP and 29th in strikeouts. 

Lucas Giolito is currently the team leader in wins with four, but his ERA sits at an unsightly 7.19. James Shields has been decent in spurts, but a general lack of run support has limited his effectiveness. Carlos Rodon has been a mixed bag since returning, but was able to reach the seventh inning in his last start. This is encouraging considering that he hadn't made it that far in any of his previous three starts. And Reynaldo Lopez continues to rack up quality starts—much like Shields—but has two wins to show for it. 

Veteran players like closing pitcher Joakim Soria and Shields are sure to be hot names on the trade market, and that could go a long way towards bringing in additional prospects to build up the White Sox farm system, and lead to a much improved rotation in the future.

So the White Sox obviously deserve to be ranked lowly until they can groom their minor league starter prospects into MLB-ready staff members, something that looks like it could take longer than originally expected. Flame-throwing top prospect Michael Kopech is still amassing high strikeouts numbers, but he is walking over six batters per outing, showing an obvious issue with control. 

White Sox fans can take their mind off of ESPN ranking the team's rotation 30th in the league by turning their attention to Eloy Jimenez. He has been absolutely crushing it in Double-A Birmingham, and will likely be making his debut with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights on Saturday. That game will be live on NBC Sports Chicago. So sit back, relax and look forward to the future, wherever it may take White Sox faithful. 

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: