The new White Sox GM is about to make the first decisions of his tenure, so let's take one last look at his first tour with the media.
Going back a couple of days, Rick Hahn appeared on White Sox Weekly with Chris Rongey, and it's a worthwhile listen that covers both a lot of new ground, and answers previous questions in a little more detail.
Among the highlights:
Describing the arrangement: Williams remains Hahn's boss and is the "overarching voice in the baseball department." Hahn oversees the day-to-day operations of the ballclub, meaning the product on the field, the minor-league operations, the amateur scouting, the international scouting. Hahn considers Williams as a guy playing the same role Jerry Reinsdorf played for Williams -- somebody to run ideas by, and somebody to defend ideas in front of.
The transition plan: Williams had presented the succession as a plan going back as far as 2008, but they finally put something official in place around spring training.
How Williams and Hahn differ: Hahn comes from a more objective, analytical background, whereas Williams had the playing/scouting/player development background, and developed more of a gut instict. That said, both Williams and Hahn are inclined to cover their knowledge gaps accordingly. Hahn said, "The first thing Kenny did was promote Dan Fabian to put him in charge of our analytical analysis operations. In all probability, the first thing I'm going to do is work with Doug Laumann and Marco Paddy to hire more scouts."
The CBA and the draft: It's going to take a few years to figure out how the new CBA affects the draft. Looking as the present, the draft lacked a consensus No. 1 pick, so it remains to be seen how the rules will hold up when a megabonus candidate comes into play. Also, the rules put a couple strategies head to head -- teams that paid out the recommended slot down the line, versus a couple that invested heavily in a couple picks and went cheap elsewhere.
On why they faltered in September: Hahn said the White Sox brain trust will discuss the Sox's September fade in detail at their organizational meetings, but he had two initial inklings:
- The Sox relied on a lot of young players breaking new grounds in workload/playing time.
- Bad timing, in that had the Sox played that poorly May 15-30, it wouldn't have registered as anything out of the ordinary.
That second one seems a little thin, if only because the Sox traditionally play poorly in September. But as far as first guesses go, it probably speaks to his analytical background that random fluctuations is among the first thought processes visited.
Throw in Chuck Garfien's story about Hahn's fight to get into the White Sox organization, and I think we have all aspects of Hahndom covered ... until he makes the first decisions. After that, as Hahn told Rongey, the discussion may turn into "which village is missing its idiot."