Until the Masahiro Tanaka situation is resolved, it will continue to monopolize the attention surrounding Major League Baseball.
Which explains why Rick Hahn spent half the time he was in the CSN studios Tuesday evening discussing the Japanese pitcher, who figures to make a decision sometime later this week with a Friday deadline looming.
The White Sox have been at the forefront of the rumors as one of the teams in heavy on Tanaka, a 25-year-old righty who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in Japan in 2013.
"I can't say much," Hahn told CSN's Chuck Garfien on SportsNet Central Tuesday. "I'm going to stand by our statement that we're not going to discuss it in more detail until he makes his decision."
Hahn also admitted the Sox have been portrayed as underdogs in the Tanaka sweepstakes, but points out they could also have been seen as underdogs for Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, who signed with the team for $68 million in October.
On SportsTalk Live, the White Sox GM discussed why Tanaka is such an appealing target for MLB teams, citing the lack of draft pick compensation and the fact Tanaka is a front-of-the-rotation arm in the prime of his career.
"Pitching is what wins in this game," Hahn said. "You can never have too much front-end pitching."
Hahn also admitted that Tanaka may be a risk because of the length and value of any deal he signs and the White Sox, as a mid-market team, would be better served to continue growing their own high-impact arms.
"The more we can grow our own, the more we can become self-sustaining in that realm with the Chris Sales and the Jose Quintanas," Hahn said, while also referencing young arms Erik Johnson and Chris Beck. It just reinforces if you're going to sign it is the risk and the ecomonic commitment, it makes it very difficult to get that. You're much better off being able to grow it."