GMs view: White Sox in good hands with Hahn

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GMs view: White Sox in good hands with Hahn

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.

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has been named the Opening Day starter — for the White Sox.

While many are surprised he still hasn't been traded, few should be shocked by the news manager Rick Renteria delivered on Friday, when he announced Quintana would pitch the April 3 opener.

With Chris Sale gone to Boston, Quintana, a first-time All-Star in 2016, has been the odds-on favorite to take over as the team's ace. The only question seemed to be whether or not he'd still be in a White Sox uniform when the season began. But the club made it clear Friday that Quintana is their guy and he'll face the Detroit Tigers in the first game of 2017. The only one who seemed a little taken aback about the news is Quintana.

"I was surprised," Quintana said. "I knew I may get the ball for that day, but they didn't say nothing, so you didn't know. I just kept going and doing my workouts and all my stuff. I'm really, really happy with this opportunity. It's huge for me. I can't wait for that day to come.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity. It's a huge honor for me to have the ball for Opening Day the first time in my life. And I think it's a once-in-a-life opportunity."

Asked about the announcement earlier in the week, Renteria said he needed more time. Many speculated that it meant the White Sox were continuing to listen to offers for Quintana, who has drawn constant interest since the team began its rebuild in December.

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Quintana, who went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings last season, has looked fantastic all spring. Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts on Thursday, Quintana made his first Cactus League appearance in a month and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. The left-hander also put on a brilliant performance for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Team USA hitters he faced before allowing a hit.

"He's very happy about it," Renteria said. "He has obviously earned it.

"I don't know if he was surprised as much as he was elated and proud to be given the opportunity to be the Opening Day starter. It's a privilege."

Quintana's resume of consistency made him a clear-cut choice for the nod. He heads into 2017 having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. In that span, he's produced a 3.32 ERA and 18.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. That figure represents the seventh-highest WAR total among all big league pitchers in that span.

Even though he's viewed as the staff ace, Quintana — who potentially has four years and $36.85 million left on his current contract — said he was surprised by the news because the club hadn't yet informed him of the honor.

"It means a lot for me, especially after last year when you make the All-Star team and this year the opportunity to play in the WBC and now you have the opportunity to pitch on Opening Day," Quintana said. "That's a lot of things happening for me now and I'm happy. And really blessed. You just try to do all my things every time.

"Maybe they don't know what it means for me, but it's a big thing."

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Miami QB Brad Kaaya

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Miami QB Brad Kaaya

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami

6'4" | 214 lbs.

2016 stats:

3,532 YDS, 62.0 CMP%, 27 TD, 7 INT, 150.3 QBR

Projection:

Third/Fourth round

Scouting Report:

"Groomed to be a quarterback from an early age, Kaaya flashes the mechanics and intelligence of a player who has spent hours in quarterback camps. However, he can be too mechanical and thinks too much rather than just flowing and responding to what the field offers him. Kaaya could have used another year of college, but he has the tools and intangibles to become an NFL starter. While he can work around his average arm strength, he must improve his accuracy and anticipation if he is to make a mark in the NFL." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Video analysis provided by Rotoworld and NBC Sports NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles