White Sox

Rick Hahn: White Sox have 'brighter days' ahead

hahn-sox-insider-0605.png

Rick Hahn: White Sox have 'brighter days' ahead

Sounds like neither Rick Hahn nor anyone in the front office has their hands anywhere near the plug.

Though he’s disappointed by the team’s 24-28 start, the White Sox general manager made it clear Friday afternoon he isn’t ready to give up on the 2015 season.

The time to make such a decision grows nearer, but Hahn intends to let this club’s fate breathe a little longer.

Whereas the White Sox have had many chances to collapse under the weight of their own struggles as well as extenuating circumstances, they haven’t. Their recent 5-6 showing on a four-city road trip has Hahn and the White Sox front office not only wiling to wait, but potentially looking to add pieces if they feel like that’s the right move.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“The marching orders for the scouts leaving spring training was look at these perhaps positions of need, let’s see how things evolve, but this is what we’ve identified as potential areas of need and let’s plan to address them over the course of the next three to four months,” Hahn said. “Again, we have to be nimble enough that if things don’t quite go the way we hope, and we don’t put ourselves right back in the thick of this thing, that we may have to adjust and go the other direction. But our intent is absolutely to look to add when the time comes, and our hope is to add when the time comes.”

Plenty needs to go right for the White Sox to consider additions for the stretch run. But the White Sox are looking at their season with the glass is half full because they figure things could be much, much worse.

[MORE: Sox hope to jumpstart struggling offense]

Even though the offense has averaged 3.67 runs per game, they’ve been outscored by 31 runs in the first inning, the defense has taken its lumps and Jeff Samardzija has a 4.68 ERA, the White Sox began Friday only four games below .500 and have played above it over their last 30 (16-14).

Hahn said he wouldn’t make a declarative statement about the team’s chances, nor does he intend to set a date for when he might start moving pieces. But he also believes the White Sox are in a good position to make their move now based off the last month.

“Are we disappointed with some of our play thus far?” Hahn said. “Absolutely. We all had high hopes and we still have high hopes. But these things happen over a stretch. Again, we feel right now the arrow’s pointing up. We just went through a very difficult stretch, and while we didn’t set the world ablaze with the record, we held our own. We played in some tough environments -- primarily on the road, and got through it strong. Let’s see what the next 30 days have to hold for us, because right now we feel guys are starting to come around. The team is gelling a little bit more and we think brighter days are ahead.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: American League All-Stars rave about Jose Abreu

jose.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: American League All-Stars rave about Jose Abreu

With Jose Abreu playing in the All-Star Game, we asked some of his American League teammates about the White Sox first baseman. Justin Verlander, Craig Kimbrel and Michael Brantley rave about Abreu, explaining why he’s such a great hitter and a tough out for pitchers. 

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

All Star of the present Jose Abreu trying to help Yoan Moncada become the All Star of the future for White Sox

0716-abreu-moncada.jpg
USA TODAY

All Star of the present Jose Abreu trying to help Yoan Moncada become the All Star of the future for White Sox

WASHINGTON, D.C. — While the White Sox wait for their All Stars of the future to develop, Jose Abreu is representing the club at the All-Star Game in the nation’s capital.

Abreu, elected by the fans to be the American League’s starting first baseman Tuesday night, might represent the White Sox present, but he’s a key part of their future, as well. While his contract situation remains a mystery — the team would need to extend him in order to keep around past the 2019 season — he’s helping to develop the players who are planned to make up the next contending group on the South Side.

No player is more under Abreu’s guiding hand than Yoan Moncada, his fellow Cuban who just a season ago was the No. 1 prospect in baseball. Moncada’s development from top prospect into star of the future is the biggest storyline of the season for the White Sox. And Abreu, the role model in this clubhouse, is in part tasked with helping Moncada do just that.

“Our friendship is special,” Moncada said through a team translator last week. “We’re always talking about everything, having fun. He gives me advice, and I always try to make fun of him. Our relationship has been for a long time. We were friends in Cuba. And now we are rejoined here. It’s just a very good relationship. I’m blessed having him here.”

“He’s a Cuban, and it’s always special to play with a fellow Cuban countryman. He’s a great kid,” Abreu said through a team translator Monday. “I think that it’s a blessing. The White Sox did all that they could do for us to play together. I’m just enjoying the moment and every day with him. It’s special. It’s definitely a very special feeling.”

Abreu is often lauded by White Sox brass as the perfect example of what they want their young players to become. His incredible production makes that an easy comparison: He put up at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his first four major league seasons. But it’s what he does outside the lines that gets the highest praise. Rick Hahn, Rick Renteria and all of Abreu’s teammates constantly talk about his work ethic, his routine, his dedication to getting better and the way he goes about his business.

Moncada’s noticed. And he sees Abreu’s latest accomplishment — getting picked as an All-Star starter — as vindication that, yes, Abreu’s methods certainly work.

“Knowing him, knowing all the effort that he puts into his preparation, his work ethic, all that work that he puts into his preparation is paying off and he’s recognized with this election,” Moncada said. “That’s something that motivates you, something that lets you know that if you do things the right way, you’re going to get rewarded. For me, it’s a motivation, and I feel really honored to share this team with him.”

Moncada’s first full season in the bigs hasn’t gone smoothly. He’s had his hot stretches — including the last couple weeks; he’s slashing .356/.453/.644 since July 2 — but he’s also had long periods of struggles. Certain aspects, such as a propensity for striking out and making errors at second base, have been constants throughout the campaign.

Renteria refers to the mistakes and the poor results as teachable moments. Does he have a proxy teacher in Abreu?

“I tell him to enjoy the game,” Abreu said. “Enjoy the game, have fun, be a little more focused on the situation of the game. But I think the key is to have fun.”

Mostly, though, Abreu is convinced that Moncada will blossom into the kind of player White Sox fans hoped he would when he brought that top-prospect track record to the organization in the Chris Sale trade. The expectations are undoubtedly high, but Abreu’s been seeing Moncada meet them for some time. The two have known each other since the younger Moncada was 17 years old.

“I think that he was born with special abilities to play this sport,” Abreu said. “Before I met him, there were a lot of people talking about him in Cuba because of his abilities, the talent that he has. And when I met him, it was a very special moment. As soon as I met him, I realized, ‘Wow, what people say about him is true.’ His body type, his ability to play the game. He’s special.”

So will the All Star of today and the All Star of tomorrow one day share the All-Star stage?

“I would like to have that opportunity. Let’s pray to God to have that opportunity,” Abreu said. “If that happens, that would be really special for us.”