Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has seen reports that All-Star closer Liam Hendriks has been mentioned in trade conversations shortly after concluding a session with reporters Monday afternoon.
“Our floor is seen as an area of strength,” Hahn said Tuesday at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. “Obviously in this game, that’s something that’s coveted. We will hear from interested teams.
“We’re not doing our job if we don’t listen to people’s ideas. Finally, we certainly don’t buy any individual players. But we can’t be closed-minded to any ideas that might come up.”
Overall, Hahn said Tuesday’s activities at the winter meetings focused on “a little more trade than free agency.”
“We’ll see if anything happens in the next 24 hours before these meetings end,” Hahn said. “We will not force it.
“If it takes unusual patience on the part of those of us upstairs, then so be it. We’ll wait until things line up right for us.”
The Sox could be in line for help at second base.
“We have some internal options – we mentioned Romy (Gonzalez), Leury (García) and also Lenyn Sosa as possibilities,” Hahn said. “We’ve made no secret that it’s also a possibility that we get outside to add to that mix.”
Would the Sox take the plunge with those in-house options at second base and throw all resources into pitching?
“It will depend on what is accessible to each,” Hahn said. “If you’re pooling all your resources, you’re significantly improving your skills in one place, and you feel like the potential difference between the upgrade in the other place is worth the sacrifice. Or there are equally affordable upgrades so you end up tackling both. This is a fair way of looking at it. There are different ways to skin a cat.”
Hahn knows that if the Sox are going to bounce back, they’ll also need bounce-back 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 slash line of .212/.273/.353 with 12 homers and 51 RBI in 104 games.
“Both of these players have proven to be elite at their positions in the past,” Hahn said. “Obviously (Grandal) had some stronger physical problems, while Yoán was affected by smaller things over a long period of time, which affected both performances. We need both of them to be healthy and we need both of them to get back to the level they are capable of performing at.
“We don’t expect to have restrictions in the future. 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 to a good team. He’s an important guy. Both he and Grandal are important guys in terms of getting back on track in ’23 for us to compete or fulfill our potential.”
Whether it’s injuries or struggles, Hahn anticipates players will be motivated to improve starting in 2022.
“I think it’s going to be a common theme,” Hahn said. “You’re going to hear a lot about that when we all get down to Glendale, (Ariz., for spring training). This is a team that certainly as a unit knows we were let down last year, that didn’t reach our potential.
“I think he’s going to have that edge for this team next year and I think that’s going to work to our advantage.”