DETROIT -- A.J. Hinch has known Rick Hahn since the days before he started to report to work on Chicagos South Side.
Hinch, a former player and manager, and currently a San Diego Padres assistant general manager, was a client of then-agent Jeff Moorad when he first met Hahn in the late 1990s. At the time, Hahn worked as an associate who specialized in contract work for Moorad and agents Leigh Steinberg and David Dunn.
Hahn, who on Friday was elevated by the White Sox to the role of general manager after 12 seasons as an assistant GM, made a positive impression on Hinch quickly.
Though Hahn -- who has degrees from the University of Michigan, Harvard Law School and Northwesterns Kellogg Graduate School of Management -- was focused mainly on contract work, his quest for baseball knowledge stood out to Hinch.
Hinch and several other baseball executives spoke to CSNChicago.com on Friday and said they believe the White Sox will continue to experience success under Hahn, who took over as GM for Kenny Williams. The teams GM for the past 12 seasons, Williams was promoted to executive vice president and will oversee the franchises baseball operations department while handing off the daily duties to Hahn, 41.
Hes so balanced and hes got enough intellectual curiosity and intelligence, Hinch said by phone on Friday morning. He has a great blend of a lot of different approaches and experience. What stands out is how clear a thinker he is at all times. Hes never rattled and thats a great characteristic to have in a leader.
Another aspect Hahn brings to the table is experience. San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean referenced Hahns 12 seasons as Williams right-hand man when he was told of the promotion during a World Series workout on Friday night.
Not only does Hahn possess the ability to handle the contractual side of the job, he also has been around Williams on a daily basis and seen what comes with his increased duties of player evaluation and assembling a roster.
He has a good reputation, Sabean said. Rick has been there every step of the way. My gut reaction: I dont see how theyd skip a beat.
Padres general manager Josh Byrnes said Hahn has been largely involved several of the six trades he has made with the White Sox over the years. Byrnes, the former GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks, said Hahns knowledge, preparation and direct nature have helped foster a positive reputation throughout baseball. Over the past three years, both Sports Illustrated and Baseball America identified Hahn as a top candidate to become a GM.
Byrnes said Hahn has an added ingredient beyond the intelligence, which should allow him to be successful even in the tough times.
Hes on the ball, respectful and has a good sense of humor, Byrnes said by phone. He can be self-deprecating. The more youre in the game, the more you can look back at decisions youre not proud of.
Hinch agrees. He believes its how, over the years, Hahn has handled the areas hes less familiar -- ie: talent evaluation -- which allows him to stand out.
He never came across like he has it all figured out, Hinch said. Hes invested a lot of time. He knows what he knows and works on the things that didnt come as natural.