Waiting for a plan to come to fruition can be an arduous task — ask any Boston Red Sox or Chicago Cubs fan since the year 2002. This same type of roster rebuilding is now taking place for the Chicago White Sox and although it can be difficult to watch at the moment, this shakeup will pay dividends in the near future. The movement is being led on Chicago’s south side by White Sox general manager Rick Hahn.
Hahn, 46, a graduate of the University of Michigan, Harvard Law School, and the Kellogg School of Management, was promoted to his current position prior to 2013. He took a few seasons to restock with veteran trades and free agency but about a season ago he decided that an all-out rebuild was the way to go. In 2017, he stopped looking to high-priced veteran help and started looking to the draft and trading for younger talents that were still a few years away from big league duty. This has troubled a lot of fans who are used to seeing players come in on a regular basis and make some sort of (hopeful) contribution to the team. Not to say that they’ve stopped looking for quality help, such as this past month with talks of Baltimore Orioles standout Manny Machado. But if one wants a long, sustained winning tradition in baseball, it starts with contract-controlled youngsters and the proper development of said youth.
This youth can already be found on the team’s 40-man roster and in its farm system as Hahn is now entering his sixth season as White Sox architect, but the job is far from over. A high amount of preparation and nearly just as much luck is necessary for successful manipulation of the amateur draft. And in the case of the White Sox, also taking advantage of another team’s draft prowess. One example is 21-year-old right-hander Michael Kopech, who spent most of his 2017 campaign in Double-A Birmingham, ending the season with Triple-A Charlotte after being acquired in a trade with the Red Sox.
During a recent radio interview on Chicago’s 670 The Score, when asked by host Barry Rozner about the possibility of Kopech being on the White Sox roster by July 2018, Hahn said, “Is it possible? Yes. That’s simply because of how talented he is and as people have probably gotten tired of hearing me say, the good ones sort of have a way of forcing the issue on you.”
This sort of talent can now be found all around the White Sox organization, from youngsters like Eloy Jimenez and Luis Roberts to gents already with major league service time like Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada. And although the White Sox have been uncharacteristically quiet this offseason after a flurry of moves in recent months, fans should find solace in the fact that Hahn has a plan and this squad is going to be coming around a lot sooner than you think. These young stars are going to shine on the field soon enough and because of it, this team’s future couldn’t look brighter. What can you take home from this? Simply put: It’s working.