Time will tell whether the White Sox make any significant roster moves at the Winter Meetings this week.
“We've had some productive conversations,” general manager Rick Hahn said Monday in San Diego. “Whether they bear fruit in the next 48 hours or next few weeks remains to be seen.”
No matter the timing, they’re keeping an open mind this winter following a disappointing 2022 season.
The Sox missed the playoffs last season, finishing 81-81 amid underperformances and lengthy injury absences. So far this winter, they've added starter Mike Clevinger in free agency, filling out their rotation.
But beyond that move, Hahn said the White Sox are more likely to add via trade than free agency this offseason — reiterating what he said at the GM Meetings last month.
Could that include a big trade?
“A year ago, we were coming off a division championship,” Hahn said. “We were wildly prognosticated to win the division going away. So, a blockbuster, roster-shaking move was probably a little less on the agenda.
“This year, I think we have to be open-minded, given the way we performed in ’22. Does it mean that's what's going to happen? Not necessarily, but we at least have to be open-minded to something like that.”
The White Sox roster has players across the board under contract or team control for several more seasons.
There’s also the option to dip into their prospect pool for any potential trades, something Hahn said they would be open to.
“There's a few guys who are on the precipice of contributing in ’23,” Hahn said of the organization's prospects. "And there's others in there towards the top of our list who are a little further away, who we very much value because of how they slate into future rosters.
“But again, it's a matter of being open-minded. And we know where we sit in terms of the ‘23 team, in terms of our competitiveness and competitive cycle and what our goals are and how we're pot committed in a few areas.
“We're going to remain open-minded about ways to get better.”
Hahn noted the trade market often can be dependent on what happens with free agency. So far this offseason, there has been more action on the latter.
“In terms of the mega free agent deal,” he said, “I think that, again, some of those are probably going to have to come together in the coming days to lead to a little more activity in the other markets.
“We're not driving that bus exactly.”
As for whether being open-minded means approaching opposing teams or vice versa, it goes both ways.
“We have all sorts of ideas floating around,” Hahn said. "Some that we volunteer to other clubs and some that come through the door from someone else's brainchild."
The Sox could project improvement in 2023 through better health and positive regression, not to mention the fresh perspective provided by new manager Pedro Grifol and his coaching staff.
But they also can’t just sit idly this winter and run it back in 2023.
“When the right deal comes along, that's when we're going to move,” Hahn said. “Doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be these next couple of days.”
Contributing from San Diego: Chuck Garfien
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