By Bruce Levine-
PHOENIX (CBS) — It comes as no surprise that the White Sox will pursue starting pitching, left-handed hitting and bullpen help this offseason, with the chance to add a veteran closer to the mix a priority.
Although general manager Rick Hahn admitted he would like to address these issues, he’s troubled by reports that the team will spend money at random this offseason.
“We are not focused on the limit of money we spend,” Hahn said from the GM meetings in Phoenix. “It’s more about finding our first few moves that make sense and spending a portion of what we have on those moves. The only thing that troubles me about the perception that we have money to spend is that does not mean we go out and spend on big free agents. Oftentimes, those turn out badly. While we do have some flexible areas (payroll budget), which was one of our goals heading into this offseason, the important part of that plan is to spend it wisely.”
For a big-market team like the White Sox that has resources more akin to a mid-market club, spending money on the wrong player can debilitate the team for years. As an example, the signing of Adam Dunn to a four-year, $56-million contract hamstrung the team’s operations from an economic and player movement aspect for most of that contract life.
“Our goal is not to put us back in a situation where our ability to compete is compromised by an inflexible roster,” Hahn said. “While we do have the ability to explore a lot of different things, that doesn’t then lead to us being big players on every free agent.”
Bullpen help, a right-handed starter and left-handed pop are all high on the wish list of Hahn and Co.
“I don’t think it is smart of me to talk about any specific free agents,” Hahn said. “We have not closed off any avenues of getting better, whether it is free agents, trading prospects or trading an established piece. It is so early in the process that I am not sure which avenue we are likely to go down. We are kicking the tires on all of them.”
What has been the White Sox’s game plan coming into the start of free agency?
‘”It is no secret from anyone who watched our team last year we had some bullpen issues,” Hahn said. “We will not shy away from mentioning that. At the same time, we are taking the same approach that we have in the last 16 months when it comes to an acquisition. We want to find a piece that makes us better and increases our competitiveness to help take that next step in 2015.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.