Sensible moves


Scott Merkin’s piece on the White Sox mindset entering next week’s Winter Meetings is titled “Hahn, White Sox prepared to make sensible moves”.

Typically, sensible is viewed as a code word for “inexpensive”, because otherwise it’s code for nothing at all, since the only team that actually terms their decisions as not being sensible is the Marlins, whose business offices are located on the 19th floor of Pixiestix Huffin’ Heaven.

The Sox are right at their own proposed spending limit, and Merkin’s piece included the line “The White Sox don’t believe the top-of-the-line free agent is the only way to make a major change”, as if the Tigers paid Prince Fielder trash barges full of cash out of dedication to the practice.

But as much as the White Sox seem more likely to shuffle cards with others than add new ones to the deck, Hahn’s most recent comments seem far more dedicated to holding his cards close enough to tuck them under his chin than preparing everyone for disappointment. He’s not giving any specifics, and it’s hard work to spin that into a story. These quotes are immaculately noncommittal.

"“Given the options we have internally, we don’t feel like we have to make a move. We aren’t going to make one to say we did something.”"

They will not act desperate and reckless.

"“If we have a chance to add to the depth, we will explore it. We aren’t going to turn our back to adding quality depth.”"

The budget may not be enormous, but the White Sox will not willfully shun the possible addition of good players.

"“Let’s put it this way: I don’t want to go into specific conversations about specific free agents.”"

 Because, who would?

"“Historically, we’ve checked in on the big names, via free agent or trade. By exploring all options, by having conversations with one club or free agent, you might unlock the possibility to make a move you didn’t anticipate.”"

The White Sox front office is up to date on what is happening in major league baseball.

"“It could happen before or after. We are in the process of having fairly substantive conversations with other clubs or other agents, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a greater amount of activity in Nashville because the foundation has been laid.”"

Something could happen.

Jim Margalus preached patience to Nick and I regarding the Dewayne Wise situation, citing that the White Sox obstinance toward cutting dead weight dissipated in 2012. And I think the principle used there–that the Sox haven’t actually over-emphasized Wise, or stuck with him for too long, until they actually have/or more directly, they haven’t screwed up until they actually have–applies to the Winter Meetings and the off-season as well

The White Sox haven’t actually delivered a weaker version of last year’s club to compete against a revamped version of the two-time division-winning Detroit Tigers, while doing nothing to accelerate the construction of a new core besides no longer being incompetent in terms of drafting and international signing…until they have.

Until then, these opaque words are all we have to look at, which is vexing enough on its own after a while.

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan