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South Side Sox Podcast preview: Rick Hahn on playing time

Read an excerpt from a conversation with the White Sox's general manager

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For the final South Side Sox Podcast of the season, Rick Hahn will join us for a wide-ranging conversation about the takeaways from the 2014 White Sox.

You can get a jump on everybody else by subscribing to the podcast via:

If you're not yet sold, here's a transcript of an excerpt in which I ask how he and Robin Ventura figure out how to use new players.


Rick Hahn: On a given day, he decides who's going to play. I certainly don't go in there and set a lineup for him or anything along those lines. At the same time, when a player comes up from the minors, or is acquired via waivers or trade or whatever, we do talk about how we envision this player fitting in; and how I envisioned, or our staff envisioned, when we acquired the player, or brought him up, why he was the guy, and how we foresee him being used by the staff, what we think his capabilities are, and the fits and the matchups, and where we see this guy helping out.

Now, if for whatever reason, Robin and the coaching staff either don't see it from the player after a few weeks, or isn't using the player in that way after a few weeks? Then we'll have another conversation. "OK, what's your view of this guy? We see him as XYZ, you aren't using him that way, where's the disconnect on this?"

And sometimes it goes the other way. Sometimes there's players that we view as, "This guy's going to help get us through the next week or 10 days while so-and-so recovers off the DL," or "He needs to go to the minors for a brief stint to work on something," and the coaches actually fight to keep the guy long term because of a fit that's not visible to us from upstairs, but when you see him in the clubhouse and how he's fitting in, and allowing Robin to deploy guys in different ways, they actually want to keep him.

So, on a micro standpoint, we're not involved in lineups and stuff like that. That's up to the manager. He's the one who knows how a guy is mentally, how he is physically on any given day, and he's trying to win the ballgame based on the capabilities of what he has. But from a longer term -- season-long, or even month-long -- development standpoint, we definitely have some fairly regular dialogue about how we expect to see guys used.

Jim Margalus: Can you give me an example of a player who improved his esteem in front of Robin and the coaching staff, that you might've seen as a temporary fit?

RH: I don't like putting on a guy that he's "temporary." I prefer to say -- Robin and the staff, I think, saw a lot more out of Moises Sierra than we initially thought we were necessarily getting. The scouting reports were very strong in terms of certain tools of his -- obviously the arm, which Moises was not shy about showing off when given the opportunity; the power and some of the defensive ability, which we saw flashes of.

But they actually liked him more -- they liked him for those reasons -- but they saw a little more of a baseball player in there. They also saw a little bit more of a very positive clubhouse presence, and I know your site was able to view his efforts to bond with Conor Gillaspie and others--

JM: His dugout game is pretty strong.

RH: His dugout game is strong. We might have to add that to our scouting report, that he's probably an 80 in terms of dugout presence.