(CBS) White Sox general manager Rick Hahn had the last laugh on this one.
For some time in some circles, there had been a perception that the White Sox and Cubs were hesitant to make a blockbuster trade because of the emotional aspect that comes with their intra-city rivalry. Hahn often downplayed that idea, saying he’d do whatever is best for his club, but it wasn’t a belief made of thin air.
In August 2016, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer acknowledged there’d be a “tax” in trading with a foe in the same city or same division. He went as far as to say that the White Sox “are certainly not a team we look at as a likely trade partner.”
On Thursday, that notion was completely laid to rest. The teams agreed to a blockbuster trade, with the White Sox sending left-hander Jose Quintana to the Cubs in exchange for four prospects, headlined by 20-year-old outfielder Eloy Jimenez, rated as the No. 5 prospect in the game by Baseball America. This conversation surrounding this trade began Sunday morning between Hahn and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, and then Hahn spent a great deal of time talking it over with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and executive vice president Kenny Williams.
“This notion that we wouldn’t do business with them because they’re in town or that somehow that we would we actually take an inferior baseball deal for non-baseball reasons because of emotion or rivalry or something totally unrelated to putting the best possible team on the field for the next several years, frankly, it’s somewhat laughable,” Hahn said in a conference call Thursday. “That’s just not how Jerry is wired. That’s not how Kenny is wired, I’m wired or anyone within the organization.
“If … we really felt motivated to take an inferior baseball deal, to not put this organization in the best possible spot that we can to win multiple championships simply because of emotion, then we’d be the wrong people running this club.”
The conversation with Reinsdorf went smoothly, Hahn said.
“We had multiple conversations, both Jerry and I and Kenny and Jerry and Kenny, Jerry and I over the last couple of days,” Hahn said. “Not too different from the Chris Sale deal or the Adam Eaton deal — when you’re moving premium talent, he wanted to make sure that we had conviction that this was clearly the best deal. We walked through all the alternatives, we walked through wasn’t on the table in other places and our level of confidence that that was true, that we wouldn’t be able to make any additional augmentations, any other offers or possibilities and our level of confidence and conviction in the end that this was the best move. He absolutely got it and was on board with it.”
This was the first time the two teams had traded with one another since 2006, when they swapped relievers Neal Cotts and David Aardsma.