WTF is Rick Hahn doing? Part 1
In this short series, yours truly, the BeefLoaf attempts to examine WTF Rick Hahn is doing with the White Sox? I’ll dig high and low (while possibly intoxicated) to try and decipher what is going on and also what alternate path I might take. BUT FIRST….the tale of the tape.
Position: White Sox General Manager aka CEO and shit of the Rebuild
Education: Harvard, Northwestern, Michigan
Accomplishments: 2016 Hot Stove Champion; 2018 Payroll Championship Runner-Up
Likes: Corny Catch Phrases
Position: 4th best blogger for Section 108
Education: BCA, DeLaSalle and Dominican University of Illinois (DUI for short)
Accomplishments: Not as fat as MySoxSummer
Likes: Turley Zins and Eggplant Parm
Way, way back in 2016, our WhiteSox were coming off of a 78-84 season, in which they had started 23-10 and then shat their pants to a 55-74 finish. It sucked worse than Wayne’s World II. At that time, us fans, thirsty for something more than watching Chris Sale pitch every 5 days were at a tipping point. We either needed Jerry to commit to ramping this fucking payroll up and turning our delicious core of 5 bWAR stars into a contender…….or, RIP THIS BITCH DOWN TO THE STUDS. Hahn, chose plan B and traded Sale and Eaton in a flurry at the Winter Meetings following the 2016 season. We were off, the fan base was exhilarated, thrilled with a direction being taken instead of sitting in the middle of the pack, getting our dicks slapped out of contention by our AL Central foes. After that, we waited….and waited for Jose Quintana to be traded, I for one had agita for months until they finally were able to trade him to the NorthSiders for a delicious fucking return.
Since then, we’ve had prospect starts and stops, surprises (mostly bad ones) and two wretched seasons that resulted in top 5 picks (Nick Madrigal and the next one in June). I’ll attempt to make sense of the 2019 roster and where I can’t, well, I’ll suggest some shit. Imma do this in four parts, Infield, Outfield, Starting Pitching and Relief Pitching. Today, I’ll start with the infield.
The infield is set…..sort of, but there are some strange things going on that I just don’t quite get.
We startedfromthe108.comback in 2016 and even way back then, we have been talking about what the White Sox should do with Jose Abreu, should they extend his contract, should they trade him as part of the rebuild, should they stand pat and see what happens. In hindsight, I think not trading him was probably a missed opportunity, mainly because we saw what the Diamondbacks got for 1 year of Paul Goldschmidt and because the White Sox have shown no real interest in extending the terms of his deal (which ends at the conclusion of the 2019 season). Ultimately, keeping Abreu is a waste of plate appearances in 2019. Someone else should take these turns at the plate (not Yonder Alonso, but that’s where we are). If the 2019 White Sox aren’t primed to win (and they aren’t given how they look now, Machado or not), then these plate appearances should go to someone that could help a future team. There just isn’t a first baseman in the pipeline to take the plate appearances and meh first baseman in the market don’t cost a ton or have big upside. A progressive team would either hand Daniel Palka a first baseman’s glove and see what happens or trade for someone that’s blocked, Dominic Smith possibly. Give yourself some upside. Instead, Hahn is going with status quo, which is fine for selling tickets in 2019, but doesn’t do much for the 2020 and beyond teams.
Yoan is here. He was a former #1 overall prospect.& He’s basically been league average. He should stay here until further notice. I know, I know, you are dying to slide Nick Madrigal in here, but let him do something professionally before we start doing that. I don’t think jerking Yoan’s position around is a wise idea at this point in his development. Leave him where he is and let him try to learn to hit. I am not sure he ever becomes a star, but Dan Uggla with speed is nothing to sneeze at.
Tim Anderson is the incumbent. If Manny Machado shows up and demands this position, then he has it. If not, Tim Anderson should play another season here. He’s becoming a good defender. I don’t know if he ever hits enough to be anything other than a bench player on a good team, but he doesn’t hit poorly enough that he’s a major hole. The only other real shortstop close to the majors in the system is Jose Rondon. You could go in that direction, but given Anderson’s contract situation and potential upside that wouldn’t make sense. The only player in the market that looked tempting to me was Tim Beckham and he signed for almost nothing with the Mariners. That would’ve been a nice gamble, former #1 overall pick, I might have brought him in and played him elsewhere, but let him pick up starts at shortstop occasionally.
I love Yolmer, you love Yolmer. Yolmer isn’t a regular Third Baseman. As I mentioned above, someone like Tim Beckham could’ve been a nice signing. The White Sox theoretically have some plate appearances to give to someone. I don’t think the best use of those plate appearances is Yolmer, you aren’t likely to find out anything new. I get it, they are trying to sign Machado and if they sign someone like Beckham, well, that wouldn’t make sense. I guess if they miss on Machado, they could add a little upside by playing Jose Rondon and seeing if his power is real. However, he’s right handed, so the urge to platoon he and Yolmer would be strong and result in Rondon not really playing enough to figure it out. I know these are tough people decisions for Ricky, but he’ll have to start making some sooner or later.
Welly Castillo is the incumbent and I know there are favored prospects in the pipeline, but it seems like there was an opportunity here to try and hit on a gamble of some sort, whether it be an oft injured back stop like Devin Mesoraco or a younger guy that almost washed out and would require a trade like Blake Swihart. It just seemed like a move here to try and find something would’ve been better than signing James McCann as the back up. He’s not young and he’s never had much of a pedigree or been good. Seems like they just signed a placeholder. I kinda get that, but why not try and find something valuable. We’ve been saying it all along, not every prospect will hit and teams can always use more good players. I just don’t get why Rick Hahn doesn’t play this rebuild like that.
WTF is Rick Hahn doing?
The Infield lacks sufficient gambles on upside for my liking. Up the middle is good, both players are adequate right now and have good upside. Abreu is beloved at first base, but there isn’t much future there as currently constituted, they effectively wasted the available trade window and suitors (outside of a major injury) and they have no real prospect depth at the position. Gavin Sheets still seems pretty far away. A scrap heap add of a young player from another org or handing Palka a first baseman’s glove would seem appropriate, but they really can’t do that with Yonder Alonso in the fold as Machado bait.