Recently, your White Sox were kind enough to set up a conference call between us bloggers, Rick Hahn, and Buddy Bell. Below are some quotes and notes from the call, which I’m sure all of you die-hards will find plenty interesting …
General Manager, Rick Hahn
Q: Take us through the process of how you revamped the farm system and made it a priority.
A: The end-all be-all is winning in Chicago and the role of the bullpen is twofold…
1) To acquire and develop impact talent to win, and…
2) Viable trade assets. In the past, we have served purpose 2 very well, but now we have a good balance of both 1 & 2 to create a sustainable club. Sustainable meaning we can contend annually instead of popping out a 90 win season here and there.
Q: On sacrificing draft picks for David Robertson and Melky Cabrera
A: The distinction to be made is the difference between sacrificing protected/unprotected draft picks. Having a protected 8th pick this year limited our acquisition costs to go out and get talent. You may be wondering, why not go out and sign someone when we had the third overall pick protected last year? We are in a better place to contend and win/have a young core. Also, the talent pool was greater this year in free agency, and we had specific targets to help us contend.
Q: Service time/arbitration rules – works for both sides? Does it need to be tweaked? (referring to Micah Johnson)
A: If Micah wins the 2B job, he will be the Opening Day 2B.
Q: Trajectory for Carlos Rodon?
A: TBD. Working on developing the changeup. He is close, not worried about him acclimating to the major league level, just working on fastball command and changeup. No issues with his slider, matter of refining his fastball and changeup to the plus level/ceiling we believe he has.
Q: What’s up with Erick Johnson, is he fully operational?
A: Tweaked his side, getting back to health, should see him out there in a few more days.
VP/Assistant GM, Buddy Bell
Q: Players you have your eye on?
A: Spencer Adams, Dominicans – specifically Nunez/Alfaro
Q: Courtney Hawkins
A: A lot of improvements made, seeing more progress at more rapid pace. Will start in southern league, will be interesting transition for him.
- Raved about Spencer Adams– said he is the best talent he’s ever seen at his age. Noted that they’re being protective with him because of his age, working on keeping his breaking ball tight/not overthrowing and trusting his stuff. Kind of a “keep doing what you’re doing/almost hands-off approach.
- Spoke very highly of catcher Kevan Smith,was impressed with how he played in Triple-A last year.
- Tim Anderson:made a lot of progress, but still doesn’t have a full season under his belt. Will run a lot more/bat at the top of the order this year.
- Matt Davidson:Approach is simpler, shorter now. He should rebound nicely.