If trading, Hahn will keep plans close to vest
White Sox GM hopeful for turnaround but remains realistic prior to Deadline
CHICAGO -- As some in the media have speculated, the White Sox might indeed be open for business with the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline about one month away.
But general manager Rick Hahn is not about to make that business public, a point he stressed during a 12-minute meeting with the media prior to Sunday's contest against the Indians.
Hahn's preference is for the 2013 White Sox to finally go on a hot streak to match what he believes is a talented roster and then become buyers before the Deadline. He also does not enter into this period of the season with blinders on, understanding that there's not much to indicate this team can reach .500 let alone chase down the Indians and the Tigers to threaten for the American League Central lead.
If the struggles continue, there will be changes.
"Obviously, we've seen everything you've seen," Hahn said. "We've felt the frustration that the fans have felt. ... We're very cognizant of how we've played.
"We aren't going to delude ourselves, and we're not going to wishcast our performance this year. We're going to respond to our performance to date and make adjustments when the time calls for it."
That time may have already come for the White Sox. As an intelligent and astute leader of this organization, though, Hahn sees no reason to play the team's hand in public.
Speaking in broad teams, Hahn said that the White Sox would be looking for "high-impact, premium talent" in trades, referring to starting pitching and players up the middle. Even areas of greater depth wouldn't be ruled out if the right player is offered.
There are no untouchables on Chicago's roster, although it would take quite a haul to pry loose a player such as ace lefty Chris Sale, as an example.
"As a general philosophy, I don't think we're doing our job if we don't listen to people's ideas on every player within the organization that they want to talk about," Hahn said. "That doesn't mean that some players [aren't] extraordinarily difficult to acquire."
White Sox captain Paul Konerko stands as one of those tough players to acquire, with his 15 years as part of the organization giving him 10-and-5 veto power on trades. The first baseman spoke on Saturday about simply getting his balky back healthy and not worrying about trades at this point.
Konerko reiterated that idea on Sunday, adding that he would judge each specific case if or when it arose.
"You do have to look at the big picture on things sometimes, and the fact that they're coming to you to have to ask means that you've earned a right for a reason," Konerko said. "It seems like 80 to 90 percent of the time a guy gets into that situation ... it always gets worked out because, yeah, you don't want to be where you don't want to be.
"I don't think that's in a negative way for the team, but this is sports. This is business. Sometimes teams change directions, and I can tell you this: I've been here 15 years, and if that's the way it's going to go with this team, it's pretty lucky to really have one time out of 15 years where that's been an issue.
"So I consider myself lucky I've always been on good teams here, good enough teams to compete through the summer, a couple playoff teams, a World Series team."
Sunday's opening statement from Hahn focused on not addressing rumors as they came about over the next month, following a policy held for quite some time by the White Sox and out of respect for the players and coaching staff in the clubhouse. Hahn wants the focus to be on winning, particularly this season.
With the losses far outnumbering the victories this year, Hahn has already been taking a fairly healthy pace of calls with interest in his players. He'll hope for the team to get better but won't provide any detail on a cutoff time for when that turnaround would need to take place.
"That's not something that we are going to say publicly, that if we are X games back on this date -- or given that we were X games back on this date -- we're a 'seller' or a 'buyer,'" Hahn said. "Instead, it's going to be how we're playing, what the schedule looks like, the likelihood that we could climb back in this thing. We'll weigh it against the offers that are currently available to us on the table and what we're able to accomplish if we decide that now's the time to pull the trigger on a specific deal."