Laid-back White Sox reminding us all to chill out and smell the hot dogs

Houston Astros v Chicago White Sox
Houston Astros v Chicago White Sox / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

What, the Chicago White Sox worry?

Welcome to the new and improved laid-back, live and let-live, stress-free, see-ya-when-I-see-ya White Sox. No pressure here, folks. Not on the Southside of Chicago with the new-age, everything-will-be-all-right White Sox.

Alfred E, Neuman has nothing on the White Sox. Madd Magazine's Neuman, for all we know, might be in the mix at second base and right field this spring.

General manager Rick Hahn has no doubt made a to-do list this off-season but he has attacked it like a third grader answering the question, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?" There's plenty of time, Hahn believes, to figure it all out and shore up all the holes in his frustrating 81-81 team of a year ago.

When all around him is concerned about where the next second baseman, right fielder, fifth starter, and closer will come from, Hahn has sat back, let out a big yawn, and transformed before our eyes into the mellow, master-of-doing-nothing Peter Gibbons from Office Space.

Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is the Two Bobs rolled into one, convinced Hahn is doing an amazing job. Fellow movie slackers Jeff Spicoli, The Dude, Benjamin Braddock, Wayne and Garth, and John Blutarski would be proud.

The Chicago White Sox shouldn't expect much during the 2023 season.

What would you say you do here, Rick?

About all Hahn has truly done this off-season is set a relaxed, what me, worry tone. Last year, when he failed at the trade deadline to improve the team, he looked stressed, frustrated, and helpless. Those days, Sox fans, are a thing of the past.

So go ahead and chill out, White Sox fans. Life, not only your White Sox World Series window, is far too short to worry about whether or not Romy Gonzalez, Oscar Colas or Kendall Graveman (followed by three new guys in May and three new guys in June) will make the grade.

Hahn, apparently, is not worried. The next thing we expect to hear from him is that he will join Aaron Rodgers on a four-day darkness retreat to clear his mind and get ready for the season.

White Sox fans should follow Hahn's lead and also stop worrying. Stop and smell the hot dogs, beef and sausage sandwiches on the concourse at Guaranteed Rate Field this spring. Lingering on the concourse, after all, is better than watching Graveman blow a save,

I know it's difficult. Peter Gibbons' apartment neighbor Lawrence would have already pounded on the wall and screamed, "Hey, Peter, man, check out channel nine. The Minnesota Twins just signed Carlos Correa."

But don't be that guy. Make like Hahn and become The Dude in all his Dudeness. Flip on that robe, shorts, t-shirt, and sandals. Pop in that 2005 World Series DVD if you need a little help to relax.

Do you say the Sox need a real second baseman? Yeah, well, you know, that's just like your opinion, man. It doesn't seem to be Hahn's opinion.

Hey, he's got a 26-year-old Romy Gonzalez, a .256 lifetime minor league hitter, ready to take over at second. Did we tell you how great he looks so far in spring training?

Hahn has clearly mastered the art of doing nothing for over a year. After the 2021 season he went out and got A.J. Pollock, Josh Harrison and Joe Kelly. Enough said.

The White Sox were floundering back in June and July (go figure) and all he did was offer up lefty reliever Jake Diekman and an "I'm sorry I couldn't do more" shrug.

This off-season, he seemingly made the same "sorry I couldn't do more" shrug to Jose Abreu so Abreu is now a member of the defending World Series champion Houston Astros.

Hahn then yawned, sat back, and watched other teams sign one All-Star shortstop after another All-Star shortstop and only poked his head out of his Punxsutawney Phil hole long enough to give us left fielder Andrew Benintendi coming off a five-home run season.

Hey Peter, man. Check out the San Diego Padres. They just signed Xander Bogaerts. The Texas Rangers' new manager is Bruce Bochy. The Phillies got Trea Turner. The Cubs got Dansby Swanson. Hahn's response to all that was simply to tell his neighbor to stop pounding on the wall.

Hahn didn't use to be this way. Hahn, especially when he was piling up seven losing records in his first seven seasons as Sox general manager, used to make trades as often as John "Bluto" Blutarsky missed classes at Faber College.

Yes, his success rate sometimes mirrored Bluto's grade point average. But he at least gave Sox fans Normar Mazara, James Shields, Jeff Samardzija, Brett Lawrie, Adam LaRoche, and others.

It wasn't much, of course, but at least he wasn't spending the bulk of his offseason wearing his robe and sandals.

Looking back, though, it was easy in those days for Hahn to pull the trigger on trades and signings. He didn't have much on his roster he was afraid to lose and just about anything he gained was worth a gamble.

None of it, of course, produced a winning team, prompting the rebuild after 2016. If the Sox were going to lose, by golly, they would win the World Series of losing.

The rebuild, apparently, tied Hahn's hands. His nerve disappeared. When he goes looking for talent he has a lot to lose now since his roster is now filled with elite prospects.

When Hahn gets on the phone with a fellow GM now and asks for a second baseman, fifth starter, or right fielder, that GM looks at the Sox roster and fires names like Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Tim Anderson, Luis Robert, and Eloy Jimenez back in his face.

When that happens, Hahn just puts back on his robe, kicks back, and checks out what is on Hulu or Netflix.

It also doesn't help Hahn that he works for an owner who has yet to give out a $100 million contract. Only the Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Oakland Athletics (baseball's slacker version of Hollywood's Jeff Spicoli, John Blutarsky, and The Dude) can say the same.

Hahn's boss, it seems, still thinks it is 1986 (check out the Tony LaRussa hire two years ago) and is convinced nobody has yet to top the $55 million he gave Albert Belle back in 1997.

Reinsdorf paid roughly $20 million to buy the White Sox back in 1981. There's no way he's going to give one player $300 million. The Sox, after all, are only worth about $1.75 billion now. Meanwhile, even the Twins are driving around with a shortstop these days earning $30 million plus a year.

Hahn is reminding us that it is easy to sell off proven assets for prospects as he did from 2016-19. It takes money, guts, boldness, a generous owner, and, yes, a sense of urgency to add proven assets for prospects.

Hahn likely has the guts and boldness. The rest, well, not at this time. All of those elite prospects on the roster will soon want elite contracts. Signing a big-money closer now to replace Liam Hendriks or a big bat to play right field might not be the smart thing to do in the long run.

As Peter Gibbons knows, this is not the time to overreact and get excited. So Hahn is putting Walmart tires on his Tesla right now and hoping to avoid another flat season.

Next. The White Sox should consider a trade for Max Fried. dark