“If we get to the point of looking to add or subtract, it’s going to be based upon what we’re able to receive in return and it being at a certain level that makes sense for us long term,” (Rick) Hahn said. “If we get to that point, we’re going to be pretty popular. We already have received a fair amount of phone calls and I suspect that will continue unless we turn this thing around and start being the ones on the dialing end of things.”
Think of a way that White Sox GM Rick Hahn would benefit from announcing to the press in mid-June that his team will be selling–and aggressively so–at the trade deadline.
Would the fans he convinced that the team was headed in the right direction for a rebuild reward him by buying more tickets to watch the in-transition version of the club?
Would the players react positively and enhance their trade values after having the concern that they might be traded added to their plates? Could they be absolutely trusted not to raise a stink at their stated goal for the season that started 11 weeks ago being scrapped?
Would it become easier for his manager to do his job with it publicly established that he’s just around to make sure everyone goes through the motions?
Are there any GM’s in the league who are curious about dealing the White Sox some uber-prospects but too shy to call Hahn on the phone unsolicited?
If anything, these questions are extreme examples, when really it’s hard to figure out an explanation of how it’s ever beneficial for GM’s to ever tell the truth to anyone besides their spouses (even then it’s a calculated risk). Which is not to say that the quotes that hard-working guys on the beat pulled from Hahn were less than worthwhile or inaccurate. If anything they were notably straight-forward. Hahn sounds like he doesn’t want to sell until he has to and has every intention of waiting until he does.
That’s both because it doesn’t benefit the White Sox to act any sooner than this time next month and because rebuilding and fire sales are wholly unenjoyable processes that are to be avoided whenever possible. As much as gutting, overhauling and rebuilding has seemed necessary, or at least inevitable for the franchise for a while, I’ve seen the world of breathlessly replaying a 12-second clip of a 20 year-old hitting a home run in a half-empty podunk stadium while half-sleeping through games played by the major league, and I don’t want it. Nor do I covet the draft night becoming the biggest night of the season.
Rebuilding is a horrible pall to place on a season, let alone multiple ones. So while the White Sox continue to careen toward a reality that short-term thinking has made them deserving of, I cannot feel a pang of sympathy for the desire to put all this off for so long.
Why not one more month of talk of “pulling off a turnaround” and “having the necessary talent?” The bad times will be officially here soon enough.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan