Should White Sox Fear Losing Rick Hahn to Rival Club?
By Matt Manetti
Rick Hahn has done an excellent job at rebuilding the White Sox. Could another team offer him complete control over baseball operations?
It’s no secret that Rick Hahn is the reason the Chicago White Sox underwent a makeover. It’s also no secret that Hahn answers to a boss not named Jerry Reinsdorf. That would be Ken Williams, who is the team’s executive vice president. Whatever that means. Williams was promoted so the Sox wouldn’t lose Hahn.
It seems like the perfect scenario for Reinsdorf who is fond of both guys. He actually did something similar with the Bulls (GarPax anyone?). That’s all fine and dandy for now. But at some point general managers want more. Is Hahn like that? I don’t know.
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But one has to wonder if another team, looking to reboot, may approach him and make him an offer he can’t refuse. Like, say the chance to have complete control over baseball operations and not answer to someone like Williams. This is all hypothetical. But being a general manager doesn’t need to be the end all be all.
For someone like Hahn, who has probably done the best job of retooling a farm system and fast, he could eventually seek another challenge. Like the challenge of being a team president.
It’s crazy to think about now since Hahn has only been the GM since 2013 and his team hasn’t done much winning. However, now that he’s been given the chance to kind of do things how he wants, with the blessings of both Reinsdorf and Williams, the White Sox look like a team that could have a very bright future ahead. If they start winning some games, suddenly he becomes very attractive to teams looking to do something similar.
It might sound crazy but look at GMs who have gone on to become presidents or hold dual roles, where they answer directly to the owner. Theo Epstein of the Cubs comes to mind. How about Billy Beane of the Oakland Athletics. Oakland promoted David Forst to GM and made Beane their president of baseball operations. Andrew Friedman left Tampa to become the Dodgers president and hired a GM to work under him. And Jon Daniels holds the dual role of president and GM of the Rangers.
The marriage between Hahn and Williams was shaky at first. There were reported rumblings the two had different visions for the team. Now they have picked a lane, but it feels like Williams ‘win now’ mantra lost out. Still one has to wonder if the Sox keep trending up and Hahn continues to get the attention, if a rival club offers him something sweeter, than his current setup. Williams was in the running to be the Blue Jays president, so he’s done it himself.
This may not even be on the White Sox radar. But you have to wonder if Hahn will be complacent answering to Williams on a daily basis. Or will success entice him to look elsewhere? I think if you asked most GMs they would like to be able to have full control over the team and roster. He can say he works with Williams all he wants, but at the end of the day, he [Ken Williams] is still Hahn’s boss. Which means he can tell him not to make a move.
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Williams was Hahn’s boss before he became the general manager. And Hahn was reportedly actively interviewing for GM positions. Which means he was confident in his ability to run baseball operations independently. Sure, he is the GM now, but he still answers to the same guy. So for Hahn, was it really a promotion or just a change in title?