Burnin' Down the House
CHICAGO- Put yourself in the shoes of Rick Hahn and a White Sox fan on April 6th, 2016. Your expectations are high and ailing, you have an all star infield and an upcoming superstar out of your farm system, a full pen and veteran closer. Hoping things would fall into place the White Sox became one of the most interesting teams entering the 2016 season. In 2015, Hahn made a move to sign Robertson, Melky, and long time first basemen Adam LaRoche. It looked as if, the North Side Cubs were in for a rival with their crosstown brothers. Unfortunately the White Sox fell to 4th in their division and one of the league's biggest surprises. Ending the year on a negative note the Sox quickly ran into the off-season with a plan, that plan was to load up on defense and hope that 3 to 4 runs per game would help you win. On December 4th the White Sox traded for a feverish infielder in Brett Lawrie. On the flip side, two weeks later the White Sox made a block-buster deal for Todd Frazier, sending their prized prospects Francis and Trayce Thompson to the L.A Dodgers. Towards March, they added Jimmy Rollins to the teams 58 man Spring Training Roster and looked to be into the thick of things in the AL, they were even projected to win 100 games by USA Today. With the entire team in full swing at Spring Training in mid-march, Kenny Williams (Head of Baseball Operations) asked veteran player Adam LaRoche to have "his child spend less time around the clubhouse". Within a day, LaRoche and Williams feuded, which later caused to his retirement. The next day, media day, which is held on every Monday is where Ace pitcher Chris Sale expressed his anger in the White Sox front-office and their organization. Chris Sale spoke with ESPN's Buster Onley and noted that he thought Kenny Williams was a "lying piece of *expletive*). Later that week, the White Sox capped off a month long Spring training with three exhibition games in San Diego. So there was Rick Hahn, on the night of April 5th, the general manager of baseball's most questionable team.
Fast forward two and a half months and the White Sox were scorching hot, and when I say scorching hot, I mean scorching like hotter than Michael Jackson's hair in that Pepsi Commercial. 24-10 and analyst jumping on the White Sox bandwagon. Entering May 11th's game in Arlington, Texas versus the Rangers and showing no signs of cooling down, the White Sox were up 9-4 in the 7th inning. Seeking their 6th straight win, they brought in at the time, their most reliable middle man, Matt Alberts. From there things went down hill, the White Sox lost the game 11-9 after a 7th run 7th inning by Texas and from that point moving forward the White Sox lost 14 of their last 29 games and headed into the All-Star break with a 45-43 record, 7 games behind the blazing hot Cleveland Indians. Not even a few weeks back from the break and one of baseball's weirdest stories arose. Numerous news broke, It began with a tweet that Sale had been scratched from the lineup and rumors swirled about him possibly being traded. Then, it was supposedly revealed that Sale had the flu and was unable to pitch, weird, I know. Last but not least, the cat ran out of the bag. A report from Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal said Sale was unhappy with the throwback jersey's he was going wear that day and childishly slashed each jersey and threw them all over the clubhouse. Sale, within hours, was sent home like a little pre-schooler who took elmo out of his classmates hand. This began the seperation of Sale and the White Sox. This incident was en route to a 4 game suspension for Sale.
Now, really slipping, the Sox began the idea of all sell-mode. The teams status on it's future would be revealed after the season concluded and boy did it ever end badly. Finishing the year under Robin Ventura's eventual farewell season at 78-84. Sixteen and a half games behind the Indians and twelve games back of the AL's two Wild Card teams (Toronto and Baltimore). The first move began less than 3 days after the ending of the 2016 season. Former Manager Robin Ventura announced his departure from the White Sox and was replaced by the teams bench coach, Rick Renteria. Hahn, introduced Renteria to the Sox World and explained that the teams interest was no longer short-term but long-term, a sugar-coded way of waving the white flag for rebuild mode. Then entered the off-season and MLB HotStove. The White Sox had the Royal Staright Flush, The Golden Ticket in Willy Wonka's chocolate bar, Chris Sale. Sale was the AL and leagues top ace for majority of his 6 years with the White Sox. A kid fresh out of Florida Gulf Coast, homegrown by the White Sox was the Shark in an ocean full of fish. On a Friday in December, Hahn called Boston Red Sox GM Dave Dembrowski to discuss a potential trade that would turn Sales accent from saying "Sausage" funny to saying "Park the Car" funny. Fortunately, talks progressed and lingered through the weekend and into Monday night. It was reported by both Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal and USA Today's Bob Nightengale that the White Sox received a "King's Ransom" by several teams entering Tuesday Morning. Hahn told MLB Network that Tuesday Morning scouts of the White Sox and front office, gathered in a hotel meeting room and discussed on which deal Hahn should accept. By lunch on Tuesday December 13th, Rick Hahn pulled off a deal that sent Chris Sale to Boston and baseball #1 prospect Yoan Moncada, Flame-Throwing right hander Michael Kopech, Luis Basabe and Alex Diaz to the White Sox. Without catching their breathe and taking a rest, 16 hours later Hahn sent Eaton to the Washington Nationals for MLB's #1 pitching propsect Lucas Giolito and two gold prospects in Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning. The reaction amongst baseball was that Hahn had pulled off an incredible hauls for trades on both Sale and Eaton. Within 18 hours the White Sox farm system jumped 19 spots from No. 23 to No. 4. Going into Winter meetings the White Sox had 2 Top 100 prospects according to baseballamerica.com and after the trades had flurished with 7 Top 100 propsects. Within the past months many columnist and fans have had time to digest the trades and feel positive about the direction the White Sox are heading, Hahn expressed the teams desire to deal off more key players but were said to be in no rush. A deal may be close though, much like the process the White Sox took for Sale, they're doing the same for Quintana. Latest reports by CBS's Jon Heyman says that the White Sox may be close. Heyman tweeted that the White Sox and numerous teams have "engaged in daily talkes with #Astros, #Pirates & #Yankees" Also, CBS's Bruce Levine heard from sources that all clubs pursuing Jose Quintana have "stepped up their offers". This would be hitting jackpot again for Rick Hahn, as it is believed that the price for Quintana will cost 3 elite prospects.
So the White Sox turn the page, on their page is a bunch of asterisk's noting out all the potential in the farm system. On the Major League diamond the White Sox have some familiar faces returning in Abreu, Frazier, Lawrie, Anderson, Garcia and Melky. Though the status on Quintana is foggy, he could stay until the July 31st deadline to be flipped by the White Sox. A sky-rocket in prospects and a change of direction the White Sox are showing hope. As most of you know, Theo Epstein put the Cubs under the same rebuild and he finished the process with a 8-7 win over Cleveland in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. However, Rick Hahn, a smart man (Dude graduated from Hardvard Law School) will finish trading his pieces at the MLB GM BlackJack table and pick up the pieces he got in return with hopes of recapturing the World Championship on the South Side of Chicago.