He’d have preferred a better performance on their last road trip, but Rick Hahn is pleased with where the White Sox are from a macro standpoint.
The White Sox general manager said the front office hopes to upgrade a club that spent its 36th day in first place on Tuesday after only holding that position 11 times from 2013-15.
The White Sox entered a three-game series against the Houston Astros with a 24-14 record and a 4 1/2-game lead in the American League Central. While he acknowledged the club may not be able to make a move until June or July, Hahn said he’s ready to strike now if the chance to improve the club arises.
“We are prepared to make a big move today if it presents itself,” Hahn said. “Unfortunately, our timing might not line up with the other 29 clubs just yet. It’s still early in the process. A lot of clubs don’t look to make those moves until June or July. But we are having dialogue right now hoping something comes together more quickly than that.”
Hahn didn’t address any rumors surrounding the team’s pursuit of free-agent pitcher Tim Lincecum, who reportedly is close to signing a deal with the Los Angeles Angels.
But he sounds open to improving a club that entered Tuesday on pace to go 102-60 in any way, shape or form. That could mean adding an arm to a bullpen that has struggled of late -- the White Sox have a 4.98 ERA in relief in May after posting a 1.69 in April -- “It’s definitely a path we may well venture down,” he said.
Having already added Miguel Gonzalez last month, Hahn potentially could add to a rotation in need of consistency beyond Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. The White Sox would like to see more from Gonzalez, who has a 5.17 ERA and 10 walks issued in 15 2/3 innings. But both Hahn and manager Robin Ventura have acknowledged a high degree of difficulty in each of the right-hander’s three starts, given they come on the road against the Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees. Gonzalez’s next turn comes Saturday against the Kansas City Royals.
“Like the mix of pitches, like the movement on his pitches, need to harness the command a little bit better to let him go deeper into games,” Hahn said. “But we’re looking for him to give us a chance to win and he has done that three out of three times so far.”
There’s also the possibility the White Sox could add a left-handed bat to a lineup loaded with right-handers.
No matter which direction they choose, Hahn is intent upon trying to win now. The team’s lead is the third-biggest in franchise history after 38 games behind only the 1957 and 2005 teams, both of which held leads of five games at this juncture. Hahn intends to take advantage of the team’s good start.
“When the chance to win comes along, you need to do everything in your power to maximize that opportunity and feed what the guys in this clubhouse, the coaches and players alike, have been able to build thus far in this season,” Hahn said. “We want to do what we can from a front office standpoint to continue that momentum, to reinforce where they have put themselves and again maximize our chances to win in October.”