By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO 670 The Score) — General manager Rick Hahn expressed his belief at SoxFest on Friday that the White Sox have potential All-Stars at every single position somewhere in their organization.
With that as a foundation, the second phase for the White Sox is to develop those young players into their potential. Beyond that, the goal is to plug in the right established free agents along the way to complement the young core, much like the 2016 Cubs and 2017 Astros did in winning championships.
When exactly that third phase will happen is unclear, but what’s more certain is that the White Sox will have the ability to pounce in that free-agent market.
“I can certainly assure you the resources will be available,” Hahn said when asked if money will be available for big-time free agents moving forward. “Will we be able to convert on every target? No, not always in a robust and competitive market. I get that question a lot. I get it. That would seem to break with our past practice to be aggressive and add at the top of the market. I do think over the last 18 months, we have dispelled myths about this organization and how we do business.”
Hahn referenced how the White Sox spent a good deal of international money to sign Cuban outfielder Luis Robert, 20, without being concerned about paying penalties. He then went on to explain that the White Sox’s old ways of doing business are long gone. For so long, many outsiders doubted that the White Sox would embark on a rebuild.
They’re now on one that may be fast-tracked.
“Ultimately, competing for free agents and targeting big-ticket items and hopefully converting on them will be the next logical step when the time is right,” Hahn said. “Anyone who doubts that we will break from past perception or past process, I believe the evidence is there over the last year that those old standards are gone.”
Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Clayton Kershaw will be the star free agents come the 2018-’19 offseason. The White Sox will be paying close attention to all three.
More proof of the White Sox’s vision of adding young talent in its prime — as opposed to past-their-prime veterans oftentimes — was provided when the club expressed interest in the Machado trade sweepstakes earlier this offseason. The White Sox were willing to deal top young players for Machado had they had a chance to negotiate a long-term deal with him ahead of the potential trade becoming official. Permission for that request was denied, though the White Sox may be willing to revisit that down the line with the Orioles.
The White Sox also were kicking the tires on outfielder Christian Yelich before he was traded from the Marlins to the Brewers on Thursday.
The philosophy of Hahn and the front office is to strike when great young players become available via trade or free agency, no matter the timing.
“We are still being diligent about monitoring the market,” Hahn said. “If something comes along that makes sense to advance us for the long term, we would do it.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.