LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla -- Rick Hahn might come across as a mild-mannered general manager, but when it comes to targeting a player he wants, we’re learning he can be as aggressive as they come.
Just ask Arizona Diamonbacks general manager Kevin Towers.
When the season ended, Hahn was very interested in acquiring outfielder Adam Eaton. So he picked up his cell phone, found the name for Towers, and called him.
Again, and again and again.
“I like aggressive over stalking,” Hahn said Wednesday. “And I did feel mildly guilty at times with how much I pestered Kevin. I don’t think I violated any federal or state laws in Illinois or Arizona, but he knew very clearly this was a target for us.”
How many times did you contact him?
“I don’t keep track of these things. Who looks at their cell phone bill?” Hahn said laughing. “Kevin was well aware that we had interest in Adam Eaton and he was reminded of that several times up until yesterday.”
As the White Sox slumped through one of their worst hitting seasons in decades, Hahn recognized one key component that was clearly missing from his team: energy.
This was especially true for his position players. It’s not a knock on every individual hitter, but when you play an exhausting 6-month schedule, day games, night games, here, there, everywhere, a team needs guys who bring a spark to the ballpark everyday.
“I’m a scrappy dirt bag,” Eaton said on a conference call. “Get after it, day in and day out.”
When you look at the box scores, you won’t find a category for energy, but after watching the White Sox sleepwalk through many losing streaks last season, Eaton’s intensity will be a welcome addition for manager Robin Ventura.
“I don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t like to have it,” Ventura said of the E-word. “When you don’t score runs, you can overcome it with energy and continually having energy everyday because we play 162 games, that’s stuff that you’d like to have.”
But can the ferocity Eaton brings to the field make him more injury-prone? Hahn has heard those whispers, and he’s not worried about it.
[RELATED: Eaton ready to get after it in Chicago]
“I’d rather have the guy that you need to dial down a little bit as opposed to the guy who you need to keep continuing to ramp up,” Hahn said. “Adam is certainly a high-energy guy and is going to fit in nicely.”
Back in September, Hahn revealed that he had a board at U-S Cellular Field with a wishlist of names. He wouldn’t reveal who was on it then, but can we now assume that Cuban slugger Jose Abreu was at the top of the list?
“I’m not going to answer that,” Hahn said. “But what I will say is that both Jose Abreu and Adam Eaton were very high on that list, and my hope is to keep circling names from that list towards the top as we were able to do with those two guys.”