(670 The Score) While the White Sox haven’t made a high-profile addition in free agency this offseason, general manager Rick Hahn has been pleased with their work so far and likes his team’s standing as MLB heads for a lockout and transaction freeze late Wednesday night.
“You can't lose sight of the fact we have a damn good team,” Hahn said Wednesday afternoon on a Zoom call. “We are in a position to compete for a championship next year and beyond by what we have been able to do over the last several years. We have MVP and Silver Slugger candidates throughout that lineup. They are all controllable for an extended period of time thanks to some foresight and proactive work on our end. We also have Cy Young candidates throughout that rotation."
The White Sox added reliever Kendall Graveman on a three-year deal and retained utilityman Leury Garcia on a three-year contract, but they’ve sat out of any pursuits for big-ticket free agents, who have been flying off the board in recent days.
“Sometimes you need to step back as an organization and look at where you are at and where you are trying to get to,” Hahn said. “We all get excited at the announcement of a big-name splashy move. Quite frankly, we like to chase that and see where things line up. That is just the nature of all of us (in the front office).”
Hahn does anticipate more additions to his club before spring training begins. Those additions just might not happen for weeks as MLB prepares for a work stoppage.
“There are ways for us to get better,” Hahn said of his club, which won the AL Central in 2021. "On Opening Day, I expect us to be better than we are today. During the summer, I expect us to continue to get better through growth and other acquisitions. There will never be a time where we aren't looking to improve on what we put together. At the same time, we don't want to lose sight of the fact we are in a pretty good position right now.”
Hahn also acknowledged that the White Sox could trade reliever Craig Kimbrel, who was terrific as the Cubs’ closer in 2021 but who struggled with a 5.09 ERA in a setup role for the White Sox after being traded in July. The addition of Graveman gives the White Sox a reliable setup man to bridge the gap to All-Star closer Liam Hendriks.
"I have made no secret that how we used Craig last year didn't quite work out to anyone's benefit,” Hahn said. “Certainly, there is a spot for him on this club going forward, but it will require us modifying (how) the bullpen is deployed. Alternatively, I know his name has been out there in trade rumors. So if there is a possible fit out there, it's our responsibility to pursue it. And we do feel we have a fairly strong pen built around the other guys right now. We will have to wait and see how that unfolds over the coming months.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.