Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn saw reports that All-Star closer Liam Hendriks was being mentioned in trade conversations shortly after he wrapped up a session with reporters Monday afternoon.
“Our pitching is viewed as an area of strength,” Hahn said Tuesday at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. “Obviously in this game, that’s something that’s coveted. We’re going to hear from teams with interest.
“We’re not doing our job if we’re not listening to what ideas people present. At the end, we’re certainly not out there shopping any individual player. But we can’t be closed-minded to any ideas that may show up.”
Generally speaking, Hahn said Tuesday’s activities at the winter meetings centered around “a little bit more trade than free agent.”
“We’ll see if something comes together in the next 24 hours before these meetings end,” Hahn said. “We’re not going to force it.
“If it requires some uncharacteristic patience from those of us upstairs, then so be it. We’ll wait until things properly line up for us.”
The Sox could be in line for help at second base.
“We have a couple of internal options — I’ve mentioned Romy (Gonzalez), mentioned Leury (García) and also Lenyn Sosa as possibilities,” Hahn said. “We made no secret that it’s also a possibility that we wind up going outside to add to that mix.”
Would the Sox roll with those in-house options at second base and throw all their resources in addressing the outfield?
“It’s going to depend upon what’s accessible at each,” Hahn said. “If you pool all your resources, does that significantly upgrade your ability at one spot and you feel like the potential difference between the upgrade at the other spot is worth that sacrifice. Or are there equally accessible upgrades so you wind up addressing both. That’s a fair way of looking at it. There’s different ways to skin a cat.”
Hahn knows that if the Sox are going to bounce back, they’ll also need rebound seasons from players like catcher Yasmani Grandal and third baseman Yoán Moncada. Grandal slashed .202/.301/.269 with five homers and 27 RBIs in 99 games. Moncada had a .212/.273/.353 slash line with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 104 games.
“Both of these players have proven to be elite at their position in the past,” Hahn said. “Obviously (Grandal) had some louder physical issues where as Yoán was plagued by smaller things over an extended period of time, which impacted both of their performances. We need both of them to be healthy and we need both of them to get back to the level they’re capable of performing at.
“We don’t expect either to have restrictions going forward. Yoán was awfully strong defensively so you’re really just talking about getting his offensive performance back to where it was in ‘19 and even in ‘21 to be a very, very solid contributor on a good team. He’s an important guy. Both him and Grandal are important guys in terms of getting back on track in ‘23, to us beating or fulfilling our potential.”
Whether it’s from injury or struggles, Hahn anticipates players will be driven to improve from 2022.
“I think it’s going to be a common theme,” Hahn said. “You’re going to hear a lot of that when we all get to Glendale, (Ariz., for spring training). This is a team that certainly as a unit knows that we were disappointing last year, that didn’t meet our potential.
“I think there’s going to be that edge to this team next year and I think that’s going to work for our benefit.”