Hahn faces important decision-making this offseason

Hahn faces important decision-making this offseason
November 30, 2012, 1:58 am
Share This Post

The White Sox dont have enough payroll available to make a significant move, but there appears to be wiggle room to solve most of their issues.
General manager Rick Hahn said as much on a conference call on Thursday afternoon, several days before he and his front office head to Nashville, Tenn. for the winter meetings.
Earlier this month, the White Sox newly promoted general manager indicated the clubs 2013 payroll would roughly be the same as last season. The teams opening day payroll in 2012 was nearly 98 million.
With 10 players under contract for almost 90 million, possibly 7-8 million due in deals for Alejandro De Aza, Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo, and another 12 players to sign, the White Sox would currently require at least 103-104 million for next season before they could address their third base opening externally.
But Hahn said Thursday the team has some flexibility and wouldnt have to offload salary in order to complete its 25-man roster --- for the most part.
We dont have to move salary to make some of the moves that are on our list, Hahn said. To make a large move, where we take on a great deal of money, then yes, wed likely have to make a move elsewhere to free up some cash to make a major, major acquisition. But right now there is room within the payroll to maneuver and address some of our needs.
The White Sox say they would love to bring back free agents A.J. Pierzynski and third baseman Kevin Youkilis. But the catcher should receive a raise from last season, when he earned 6 million and hit a career-high 27 home runs and Youkilis is the top third baseman available this offseason. Both would likely fall under the large move category defined by Hahn, which would require another move to offset salary.
So where would that move come from? Most likely the teams pitching, which Hahn said continues to draw significant trade interest. With Jake Peavy, John Danks and Gavin Floyd already signed and Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Hector Santiago under team control, the White Sox have depth in the starting rotation. They also have a decent stable of relief pitchers with Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton signed and Addison Reed, Nate Jones, Donnie Veal, Brian Omogrosso and Co. under team control.
An above-.500 pitcher who is due to earn 9.9 million next season, the final year before he become a free agent, Floyd is clearly one of Hahns most attractive trade pieces. Crain or Thornton also might attract offers and would bring some relief.
I think other clubs see us as having some depth and obviously some young guys who have some success and in a position of perhaps having excess, Hahn said. Were not inclined to go out there and trim away at that depth. We have some pride and comfort in that depth. But those tend to be the focal points of at least the majority of those calls and if something were to happen via trade that would likely be the area that we wound up dealing from.
But Hahn said theres no rush to make any moves, either via free agency or through trade. He emphasized the White Sox will continue to monitor the markets for Youkilis and Pierzynski and determine whether or not their internal options are more cost efficient than signing one of the veterans.
You dont get added points for getting a deal done at the winter meetings, Hahn said. Our goal is to have the best roster we can have come opening day. If that means we acquired a player in the final days of November or the final days of January, that doesnt matter to us come April.