White Sox Confident More Moves Are On Horizon

"I walk out of here enthused," Rick Hahn said as he left the Winter Meetings.

Bruce Levine
December 12, 2019 - 2:35 pm
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SAN DIEGO (670 The Score) -- As the Winter Meetings ended Thursday, the White Sox seemed satisfied with the moves they've made to date this offseason and hopeful that there are more to come.

The White Sox are aiming to make a playoff run after seven straight losing seasons. They took a key step toward that by signing All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73-million deal in November, and they followed that by inking first baseman Jose Abreu to a three-year, $50-million contract. 

The White Sox didn't make any such high-profile moves at the Winter Meetings, but they did add outfielder Nomar Mazara in a trade with the Rangers. And they believe more key moves are on the horizon this winter.

"You can't force the issue on these things," general manager Rick Hahn said before leaving San Diego. "If we hit on our targets, no one is going to have an issue of the timing next June and July of if it was done in December or January."

The free-agent starting pitching market has cleared out a bit with Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg signing massive contracts and Zack Wheeler also off the board. That has left the White Sox contemplating the economics of the next tier of starting pitchers, which includes Madison Bumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dallas Keuchel. 

"We don't exclude any avenue of improving this club, which could mean doing something at the top of the market," Hahn said. "We have a great deal of information about these guys and how they could potentially fit. When it appears to line up for us, we have proven we will pursue aggressively."

The White Sox need to add at least one and ideally two veteran starting pitchers to a youthful rotation that has struggled often.

"We obviously operate best when there is less noise around what we are doing," Hahn said. "We recently showed that in signing Grandal. I would hope after all this time, people know that we err on the side of being aggressive. If there was a high-quality free agent that fits for us, we probably have gone down that path. If we did not convert on adding, there are usually some good reasons why."

The price for pitchers has been set high with Cole's $324-million deal with the Yankees and Strasburg's $245-million deal to return to the Nationals. Will that hurt the White Sox's chances of reeling in frontline pitcher?

"The market is moving more quickly," Hahn said about the pace compared to the last two offseasons. "The prices are expensive, and we were prepared for that. We got one of the top position players done at what would arguably be a premium price in this market. The pace of this winter seems more in line with the quicker paces of several years ago. That is a little more exciting and satisfying."

The White Sox are still looking to add another bat too, and they've discussed designated hitter types like Edwin Encarnacion. They would also like to add an infielder who can play shortstop and second base.

"I walk out of here enthused that we as a club are better than we were at the end of the season," Hahn said. "We feel by the time we get to spring training, we will be better than we are today. We are impatient about getting to the most rewarding part of this rebuild when we are ready to win, and we believe we have taken steps to make that closer."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.