Chicago White Sox, Rick Hahn sleepwalking through Winter Meetings

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Seattle Mariners v Chicago White Sox
Seattle Mariners v Chicago White Sox / Ron Vesely/GettyImages
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Did Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn forget to turn on both his alarm clock and phone during Major League Baseball's winter meetings in San Diego?

It certainly looks like neither he nor the team seemed to know this was a good time to explore moves either through trade or free agency that could help get the club back into playoff contention.

After having made it known the White Sox would probably go the trade route to fill holes in the lineup, Hahn did little in the way of either acquiring proven talent or being mentioned as major players in picking up certain people.

While the likes of the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, and even the Chicago Cubs were busy either solidifying their already playoff-contending rosters or building up their teams to get to that point, the White Sox sat idly by and did very little.

The Chicago White Sox need to wake up and make some changes now.

Despite having glaring holes left over from the previous season that needed to be filled, Hahn's only move was to sign pitcher Mike Clevinger to a one-year "prove it" type deal in the hopes he can produce as he did from 2017 to 2019 before undergoing Tommy John surgery.

The Cubs have been mentioned as a team in on top free agent shortstops Carlos Correa, Dansby Swanson, and Xander Bogaerts.

They addressed a need in the outfield by signing former National League Most Valuable Player Cody Bellinger, much to the delight of manager David Ross. They added starting pitcher Jameson Taillon to help upgrade their staff.

The Cardinals signed Wilson Contreras. The Mets went out and got Jason Verlander along with Jose Quintana. The Phillies signed shortstop Trea Turner. The AL Central champion Cleveland Guardians brought in first baseman Josh Bell. Jason deGrom signed on with the Texas Rangers.

While all of this was going on, aside from the signing of a back end of the rotation pitcher, the only sound heard from the White Sox was crickets.

With the exception of the Cubs and Rangers, the rest of the aforementioned teams were all in the playoffs last season with the Phillies getting to the World Series. None of those teams was content with where they stood at the end of last year and wanted to do something about it.

Aggressiveness, an understanding of what areas need to be addressed, and a willingness to do what it takes (i.e., spend) to win are what separates the teams that got busy during the winter meetings and the Chicago White Sox.

The general public isn't privy to all the inside discussions general managers have and it is possible Hahn could have some things in store that need finalizing.

However, based on Hahn's track record in making deals, the White Sox look to be content with the talent they have. As evidence, look at last season's trade deadline when the team needed help in several areas due to injury and the only deal made was to bring in relief pitcher Jake Diekman.

The White Sox regressed from an AL Central champ in 2021 to an underachieving 81-81 ballclub last season. Areas such as second base and right field were not addressed fully going into last season and it looks as though those positions will be question marks once again.

In addressing second base specifically, Hahn said,

"“We have a couple of internal options — I’ve mentioned Romy (Gonzalez), mentioned Leury (García), and also Lenyn Sosa as possibilities,” Hahn said. “We made no secret that it’s also a possibility that we wind up going outside to add to that mix.”"

But, just how open to those ideas in either trade or free agency are they? If Clevinger is the only real move the team makes between now and the beginning of the season, this team could be facing mediocrity once again.

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