‘Put it on me’: Chicago White Sox GM Rick Hahn takes responsibility for team’s worst start since 1986

Rick Hahn made it clear.

“Put it on me,” the Chicago White Sox general manager said when asked about the team’s rough start. “That’s the thing. It’s the absolute gig.”

Entering the opener of a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field, the Sox found themselves off to their worst 25-game start since 1986 at 7-18.

“Put it on me,” Hahn continued. “I’ll tell you this, let’s get this straight, it’s definitely not about (manager) Pedro (Grifol) and his coaching staff. They do everything in their power to prepare, to focus on what is controllable, what is fixable, addressing problems as they arise. And they are really doing everything in their power to fix this. It is absolutely not up to the manager and the coaches.

“At the end of the day, it’s the players who play the game, and when they don’t perform at the projected level, they certainly have a level of responsibility for that. But at the end of the day, the people who put the players on the roster, put them on the field, are the ones who bear the responsibility if that group doesn’t succeed. This is me. This is good.”

Meeting with reporters before the opener of a seven-game homestand, Hahn addressed a number of topics related to the struggling Sox.

“When you said who is responsible for this and I said ‘Me,’ that makes it clear that my job is potentially on the line,” Hahn said. “But I want to make something very clear: I am not a king. I do not sit in this seat by divine birthright. It is an absolute privilege to be the general manager of the White Sox, one that I must continue to earn. It’s pro sports. These things eventually come to an end and never in any decision that I was involved in making did my employment status have anything to do with the decision we were making. It’s about doing what’s best for the organization based on the possibilities on the table at the moment.

“But the day I took this job or someone takes the job of a CEO, you know it’s going to end at some point. It’s never been my focus and it’s not today. It’s more about getting this team right again for 2023 and what happens later this season or after the season or five years from now will happen when it happens.”

Hahn’s message to a frustrated fan base: “They’re not alone.”

“We’re upset,” Hahn said. “We’re feeling every emotion in the book, from anger to disappointment, and we’ve done maybe the exact opposite of what we set out to do in terms of regaining the trust of our fans (after an 81-81 record in 2022). ) and trust what we are here for. At the end of the day we have to win. That’s how we’re going to win this back. We can sit here and talk about how early it is. We can sit here and talk about all these other teams that had rough starts but turned it around and actually won the World Series after those rough starts. But in the end, it won’t matter unless we start winning games.

“Focus and commitment remain strong. But when you say, “We’ve got to win this back on the court,” we know we’re doing the exact opposite, and we still don’t have that big hole in the standings. to pull from (seven games behind entering Thursday), but that hole in terms of regaining the trust of our fans. We fully understand this and more than empathize with the emotions they feel, we live it day in and day out. So we absolutely understand any frustration, dissatisfaction or even finger-pointing coming from outside the organization. I absolutely understand.”

Highlighting the issues, Hahn said a fundamental problem is commanding the attacking zone and controlling the attacking zone.

“It would be both sides, but the offense is probably a little more pronounced with the amount of expansion we’ve seen with the guys at the plate,” Hahn said. “But if you wanted to cut things down, that’s a fundamental element that we need to improve on both sides.”

Hahn said the bar hasn’t changed for the Sox.

“It’s the same as when we started the season,” Hahn said. “We felt we had the talent to fight for a championship. We felt we had the talent to contend for this division and then make some noise in the postseason.

“This objective has not changed. We made our job a lot harder based on the first 25 games. But the goal hasn’t changed for us.”

Injury updates

Shortstop Tim Anderson (sprained left knee) and outfielder Hanser Alberto (strained left quad) will begin rehab assignments with Triple-A Charlotte on Friday, Hahn said.

Reliever Garrett Crochet (Tommy John rehab) is in Chicago for a checkup and will “potentially” start a rehab assignment “as soon as this weekend,” Hahn said. Closer to Liam Hendriks, who recently announced that he is cancer free after revealing he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January, will be in Chicago next week, and a rehab assignment is potential after the Minnesota Twins series, Hahn said.

Third baseman Yoán Moncada is “steadily progressing,” Hahn said.

“To be clear, he was dealing with a disc that was inflamed (prominent and) impinging on his back,” Hahn said. “Don’t anticipate him going on a rehab assignment during this house, but hopefully he’ll continue to progress through these seven or eight days and have an assignment soon after.”

Judge dismisses former coach’s claims in Sox lawsuit

An Illinois Circuit Court judge on Wednesday dismissed with prejudice all of former head athletic trainer Brian Ball’s remaining claims against the Sox related to Ball’s 2020 termination, the team said in a statement.

Last May, Ball filed a lawsuit in Cook County against the team and Hahn, alleging wrongful termination in October 2020 because of his sexual orientation, age and disability.

“In his February response to the Club’s Motion to Dismiss, Ball voluntarily dismissed all claims against GM Rick Hahn personally, as well as two of Ball’s original five claims against the Club,” the Sox said in the statement. “In (Wednesday’s) ruling, the Court dismissed the other three applications against the Club, thus closing the matter, unless there is an appeal against the Court’s decision.”


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