By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Certain realities die harder than others. Although the Chicago White Sox have failed to live up to expectations of their offseason moves, general manager Rick Hahn isn’t ready to dump a manager, coach or player as of yet. At least, he’s not revealing those plans to anyone outside of the executive offices.
The White Sox returned home Wednesday after losing five straight on the road, three in Tampa and two in Pittsburgh. The team’s offense has completely shut down. Chicago has scored 30 runs in its last 12 games for an average of 2.5 runs per game.
The first demarcation point of 60 days to evaluate the team has come and gone for Hahn.
“The organization still absolutely believes in this team,” Hahn said Wednesday before the White Sox fell 3-2 to the Pirates to fall to 28-36. “The focus on the ballgames and the belief we will win ballgames is there. I realize and completely understand what we have heard from outside the ballpark, the frustration — and we share that frustration. Our focus has to be on what is going on in that clubhouse and their focus, their belief and their efforts to win that ball game on any given night.”
Hahn admitted that this blind faith belief in this team will come to an end sometime soon. He then told the media he won’t reveal his plan of attack for the next six weeks.
“My response to the question is that even if we were 10 games ahead in the division, I would not give you a date or a plan for impending moves,” Hahn said. “I wouldn’t tell you what our priorities or goals are over the coming weeks. There is no strategic advantage for laying out what will happen and when.”
Maybe Hahn won’t reveal his way of turning this baseball situation around, but it’s apparent by his demeanor that a game plan is in place.
“Do we have thoughts on potential moves to reinvigorate the 2015 club and put us in a better position to contend going forward? Absolutely,” Hahn hypothetically posed. “As for the timing or the nature of those moves, that is not something that we will lay out in advance.”
My impression of Hahn’s words is that the organization has already decided on the direction it must go from here. Building up a team to move its most marketable commodities makes sense.
This group being down 10 games in a very competitive division through Wednesday night would cause any baseball executives pause, even after just 64 games. Hahn refused to blame manager Robin Ventura for the team’s failure.
“In my mind we are all in this together,” Hahn insisted. “Until a player is traded or there has been a change on the staff or the front office, we are all 100 percent in this together. We are all accountable together. We all are putting all of our energy and efforts to win. Should we get to the point that any of it changes, you will know and we will explain why.”
Basically the plan is known by owner Jerry Reinsdorf, vice president of baseball operations Kenny Williams and Hahn.
“It is the players who are between the lines that bear the responsibility for their own performance,” Hahn said. “We need to be sure we are giving them everything we can to succeed. We don’t have much control over what happens to these guys between 7-10, but we have a great deal of control of putting these guys in a position of fulfilling their potential. We have to make sure we are doing that.”
The time for a turn-around is still there for Chicago, but the White Sox brass must determine when to throw in the towel for 2015. The towel is in sight.
“We talked about a 60-game mark,” Hahn said of the first benchmark of the season. “We have passed that now. This team has shown itself to be underachievers offensively. Now you have to decide over the next 100 whether it’s reasonable to expect them to get better or for some reason this isn’t going to click.”
Hahn was asked what Reinsdorf has been thinking in relation to the White Sox slow start.
“He has the same frustration, if not more than any of us feel,” Hahn said. “For that matter, any fan feels. He came in like many of us and our fans with high expectations. Those expectations have not been met. That is as frustrating as can be. In some ways, he is not unique. Any fan who has invested his time or money into this product has been frustrated and disappointed. From a frustration standpoint, (Jerry) is right there with the rest of us.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.