Having spent a little time around new Sox General Manager Rick Hahn, I will let people in on a little secret…Hahn has a great baseball mind. He understands stats and money, a deadly combo for any GM. He may play the easygoing family guy at home, but in his new job, he’ll be fearless and aggressive. He’ll have to be with the spotlight now focused squarely on him.
Hahn took time from his increasingly busy schedule to chat with some of us online lugheads today. He came off like a guy getting comfortable in a new pair of shoes. Yes, he has been the Sox Assistant GM for the past few years, but his ascension to the big boy seat has been seamless. That’s not an easy thing considering the guy he replaced, Ken Williams, led the team to a World Title and a Central Division title two other times. Basically, he has kept the Sox in the thick of things most every year in his time as GM.
Did any of us think this move would happen so soon? Williams is just 48, and figured to have another 10-20 years left. Hahn said things happened fast, with things getting serious about a year ago. I think the Sox saw the writing on the wall. It’s time to promote your trusty assistant, or watch him possibly leave for another team. Luckily for the Sox, Hahn grew with the team and his family is comfortable, so leaving wouldn’t have been easy.
I am glad that Hahn is the man now, but I wanted to get to the meat of the Sox. Having surprised us all by re-signing Jake Peavy last week, I wanted to know about the other big name Sox guys looking for a home.. notably Kevin Youkilis, A.J. Pierzynski and Brett Myers.
When the 2013 season kicks off next April, those three will be 34, 36 and 32 respectively. Not old by any means, except in professional sports. I wanted to know what’ll stop them from being brought back to the South Side–money of length of contract? Hahn made it clear those two will be of the utmost importance, but he added that the fit also has to be right. What does that mean? Well, since the hole at 3rd is as wide as the Grand Canyon, I think bringing back Youkilis is 70/30 in the positive.
Pierzynski wants to end his career in Chicago, so I am now starting to think he’ll come back at a reduced rate. But if that happens, the Sox need to stop drafting quality catchers and Tyler Flowers’ time in a Sox uniform may be done. In his limited time, Flowers has shown that he is ready for his shot…and let’s not forget Josh Phegley or Michael Blanke, who will be, sooner than later, knocking on the door.
As for Myers, Hahn said that his market is as a starter or reliever, which are two totally different financial classes. Watching the Giants pitch their way to a World Series title, I have a hard time believing a team won’t throw a bucket of money at Myers, who as a starting pitcher has won in double-digits six times in his career. Who knows though? Maybe he likes pitching behind Addison Reed—haha.
Hahn was also asked about Peavy taking a reduced rate to stay with the Pale Hose. He say the right-hander did compromise, but that he wanted to come back, making negotiations that much easier. It’s funny I used the word compromised as Peavy did sign for 29-million, and can get more if he stays through his option year. If the Sox want me to compromise, my door, window, roof, patio door, etc… is ALWAYS OPEN. I do throw in the low 70′s, with little to no movement.
Joking aside, this is going to be a fun off-season for the new GM. He has the decisions I mentioned, plus questions about Brent Morel and Konerko, who is in the last year of his deal. Is John Danks healthy? Are the Sox ready to invest big money on Gordon Beckham? Questions, questions, questions.
One thing I can guarantee you…Rick Hahn has all the answers.
Spring training is just over 70 days away. Yay!