With the winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn only 2 12 weeks away, Rick Hahn senses a surge in transactions may arrive shortly.
The White Sox general manager said Thursday night teams have begun to zero in on their options as evidenced by this weeks megatrade between the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays. Hahn thinks the White Sox could experience an uptick of their own as they continue to try and fill the holes on their roster, namely at third base and catcher.
Things are starting to happen, conversations are starting to get a little more substantive and offers are flying back and forth so something can happen at any time, Hahn said.
Asked whether more of his conversations are with agents or fellow GMs, Hahn described the split as fairly even. One agent Hahn has had several conversations with is Joe Bick, who represents third baseman Kevin Youkilis. The White Sox have had repeated conversations about Youkilis --- who had 15 homers and 46 RBIs in a White Sox uniform last season --- and have explored several other options, both internal and external. Youkilis has reportedly drawn the interest of a half-dozen teams aside from the Sox, which Hahn said falls in line with what he expected when the veteran reached free agency this offseason.
Its not a shock that hes heard from a bunch of teams, Hahn said. Its not a shock that hes popular and its not a shock that its going to be a challenge to bring him back. But we continue to have dialogue with he and other options and well see where it goes.
Hahn refuses to speculate on whether or not Youkilis or free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski would return to the White Sox in 2013. He did clarify that the White Sox have several other options at third base ahead of a potential return to the position for Dayan Viciedo, who played left field in 2012. Hahn believes Viciedo is capable of handling the position but doesnt want to ask him to reverse course.
I think hes athletic enough to handle it but at the same time weve moved this kid around a lot, Hahn said. Were asking him a lot of him offensively in terms of the role he plays in our offense going forward so at this time I dont think another move is in his best interest. Its something we have talked about a lot. Its something well continue to consider. We wont rule it out but weve got a lot of other options ahead of that one.
The team also has internal options to ably replace bullpen coach Juan Nieves, who last week accepted a job to be the Boston Red Sox pitching coach. Hahn said he fully expects an internal hire.