Rick Hahn is a college boy, and other White Sox notes
By James Fegan
Chuck Garfien wrote out a profile of the new GM, Rick Hahn for CSN Chicago, and it’s worth your time if you looking to get a read on this man who’s about to futz with your favorite team. The introduction is all centered around an anecdote about neither Jerry Reinsdorf nor Kenny Williams being particularly taken with Hahn to start. It’s all charming enough, and meant to demonstrate how thoroughly Hahn had to prove himself to get to where he is now, but the description of his first meeting with Reinsdorf is surprising.
"“Using some direct and mildly colorful language, he told me that I was wasting his time, I was wasting my time. I’ve got all this education, and why do I want to work as a general manager? He said, ‘Just go do something real with your life.’ I was able to sort of calm him down after I got over the fact that Jerry Reinsdorf is kind of cursing me out here, which is kind of weird.”"
Reinsdorf’s, uh, personal touch aside, the aversion to Hahn’s intellectual pedigree is notable. This story is from 1996, and thus pre-dates the large scale acceptance of backgrounds being useful to working in baseball that weren’t…baseball.
Hahn got the job, and has risen to the highest levels of organization, so there’s a limit to how much he was really rejected, but there’s some clear dismissal of the notion that a baseball GM should be plucked from the best and brightest minds.
The profile also includes Hahn stating his intentions to win it all in 2013, which, as Ken Neadly points out doesn’t jive smoothly with claims that the Sox won’t be big players in free agency, or any realistic analysis of their roster in its current state.
Scott Merkin’s preview (“White Sox look to make targeted free-agent moves”) of the White Sox off-season did little to clear up the mystery surrounding the decisions around outgoing free agents, but at least lays them all out. There will be decisions, it appears, and they will be difficult. I might ask, “what team makes un-targeted free agent moves!?!”, but the Marlins went and ruined all those jokes forever.
The combination of tight-budget talk mixed with World Series aspirations makes it seem like the Sox will be dumpster-diving for rebound candidates and “secretly rebuilding” (/writes royalty check to @SouthSideSox) like it’s 2007.
Arizona Fall League
1B Andy Wilkins was red hot, and still leads the Salt River Rafters in hits, but remains Andy Wilkins, and is simply not a notable prospect.
Middle infield prospect Carlos Sanchez has spent most of the AFL slumping and striking out way too much for someone of his skill set, but that won’t stop the buzz that the 20 year-old with 172 plate appearances above A-ball could push for a roster spot next season (maybe they could even pull a full Beckham and rush him out of position!). It’s worrisome to consider Sanchez on an escalator, but at least this prospect frenzy is happening in spite of AFL results, and not because of them.
OF Trayce Thompson homered twice over the weekend, but until then there was no production to distract onlookers from his long, exploitable swing.
RHP Andre Rienzo has added a cutter (!) and is regularly hitting 95 mph, which is enough to make scouts drool about his potential. He’s still a fair bit raw, but two plus pitches is enough for a career in relief, at least.
LHP Santos Rodriguez is throwing really hard and striking people out. And he’s kinda wild too. That’s right, he’s every White Sox relief prospect of the last 10 years. (Except for Dan Remenowsky–that poor, lonely soul)
Gold Glove nominations
I’ve come to accept that Alexei Ramirez won’t get his defensive awards until the one, true infallible defensive metric is introduced in 95 years, but it appears his offense going into the tank didn’t inspire anyone to take more notice in his glove.
Instead, the only two White Sox Gold Glove nominees are A.J. Pierzynski and Jake Peavy. I muttered about it on Twitter already, but if the powers that be (managers) are going to insist upon giving defensive awards to A.J. Pierzynski, they’re going to have to take “glove” out of the title. Even conceding A.J. as a pitch-caller, pitcher-handler, game-manager extraordinaire that only the people on the field really appreciate, leading the league in wild pitches by 10 is objectively bad.
As for Jake Peavy….can’t say I’ve taken great notice of his defense. He’s athletic and not wounded anymore, so it makes sense. Basestealers were only successful against Peavy on nine out of 17 attempts, metrics loved him well enough, and hey, look at this!
Or don’t. I’m sure they’ll play it on loop during the awards ceremony.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan