By Bruce Levine-
PHOENIX (CBS) — While approaching free agents and pinpointing players they want, the White Sox have also been listening to offers from clubs on some of their top players at the general manager meetings this week in Arizona.
“I have probably spent more time talking to clubs about trades here,” Rick Hahn said. “That is in part because we live in an age, a lot of this stuff can be done by phone or text. In some cases, you don’t need to be face to face.”
The heavy lifting of making his team better had Hahn out in front of some of his talks in the past two or three months. The Mets, for example, have been looking at veteran shortstops like Alexei Ramirez most of the summer. New York has young pitching that Chicago would very much like to tap into.
The 33-year-old Ramirez would be expendable due to age and the process of trading a player who’s still performing at a high level. Ramirez was an All-Star in 2014, hitting .273 with 15 homers and 74 RBIs.
“Most of our conversations here have been following up on other conversations we already have had,” Hahn said. “There has not been a ton of new talks, in terms of expression of interest of players and fits. That is because we did our due diligence before we got here.”
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson was adamant about protecting his corp of young pitching talent when talking Wednesday, but he addressed the question of moving a young arm for a skill position player when I had asked if a pitcher could be turned loose for an established veteran like Ramirez.
“In answering your question directed that way, the answer would be yes if we felt we had the pitching depth,” Alderson said.
The Mets have plenty of young pitching to move in the right deal if they wish to. Right-hander Noah Syndergaard (145 strikeouts 133 innings at Triple-A) is a prime young talent who the White Sox would covet in any deal for their shortstop. If not him, the Mets have further pitching depth in their organization.
“We certainly have had a lot of discussions here for premium position guys,” Hahn said. “At the same time, there has been interest in near-ready-prospect-level-type guys and pitching depth from a few clubs. Premium players at premium positions are in demand, and it appears we have a couple of those.”
Hahn has no compunction to say any player is off-limits. He believes that he’sonly doing his job when listing to other general mangers’ interest in his players.
“We have gotten to the point where most every player is used to it and expects it,” Hahn said of players being thrown into trade rumors. “For the most part, we are at an age that technical advancements and social media has taken it to point where players are accustomed to seeing their name out there year round. Most become pretty good in time of tuning that out.”
A deal between the White Sox and Mets seems premature now but is possible moving forward due to their numerous conversations and the impending winter meetings in San Diego in the second week of December.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.