SoxFest 2017, Day One: A Clear Direction

After the trades of Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, many pundits expected the White Sox to be active and continue to tear down the roster before the 2017 season began. Other than a few minor free agent signings, the White Sox have been very quiet and haven’t made a significant subtraction from the roster since the Eaton trade. Hahn reiterated, as he has said in the past, that if the Sox “…had their druthers” they would’ve made a few more deals. Past that, in several different comments, Hahn assured the media that the White Sox are still in contact with other teams so it would be premature to look at the activity thus far as the end product.

The message GM Rick Hahn made clear to the media was that the prospects who have been acquired since last June are a part of a greater process – a process that has just begun. Hahn opened up with the importance of building an annual, sustainable winner based around a new young core. After addressing the players the White Sox acquired who were closer to the big leagues in Moncada and others, Hahn was sure to point out that other players they acquired, namely Michael Kopech and Luis Alexander Basabe, were very likely to start their seasons in A-ball.

The lack of activity since the Winter Meetings has prompted some to speculate that the White Sox weren’t fully rebuilding, but rather getting younger and removing problems in the clubhouse. This prompted one media member to ask Hahn if the team could still compete to which Hahn politely shut down:

It’s tough to serve two masters.

Everything Hahn had said makes the White Sox direction moving forward very clear. After removing Adam Eaton and Chris Sale from a 78 win team, it’s not likely they’re going to compete in 2017. Repeatedly, Hahn pointed out the team is closer to the start of the process than they are to the end. Despite any indicators that may point to a course of action other than a rebuild, the White Sox’ fifth-year General Manager put his team and the front office firmly in the lane of a rebuilding club.

Past Hahn’s presser, the media and the White Sox themselves have put the focus on the new, young additions. Typically at SoxFest the hardest players to get some time with to interview are the established players and the fan favorites. This year, after Hahn and Manager Rick Renteria addressed the media, a different trend from the media took place. The swarms of reporters that used to cloud Chris Sale and Adam Eaton had moved over to new additions like Yoan Moncada and Lucas GiolitoNot only did the prospects garner more attention than they had the last few years, the Sox Fest opening ceremony led with features on the White Sox two first round draft picks as well as the prospect rankings attached to some of their newly acquired prospects. 

For a team that’s been criticized for a lack of direction in the past, everything coming out of the White Sox camp thus far is putting that criticism behind them. They have their heading.

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