White Sox GM Rick Hahn repeated the line over and over again just in different ways -- he's not done "augmenting" the 2016 roster, "we're gonna have more additions", etc. But, at the same time, he asserted that he's "pleased with where the team is." He went even further saying that he feels the team is "stronger now than last year at this time." And he didn't hesitate to triple down: "Perhaps even more than last year, we have high expectations."
As expected, the general sentiment among fans was different. Fans had been sharpening their knives all afternoon and when Avisail Garcia was introduced by Gene Honda as the "starting right fielder", the boo birds came out, which is the first time I've ever seen that for a player at SoxFest. During their Q&A session, Hahn and Robin Ventura also got a taste of the fans' displeasure with the offseason's non-moves. It was a mere warm-up, though, because today's session is the one that really attracts the irate.
I doubt the responses from the brass will be any different, however. Being the good, law-abiding baseball man he is -- more on that later -- Hahn wouldn't discuss any specific players or any of his specific position targets. Instead, he rather unconvincingly explained that there were "absolutely no hardline terms" that limited him in negotiations with free agents, either in terms of years or money.
Actions speak louder than words, though. While he claimed to be in contact with (unnamed) players until the day, or the day before, they signed with another team, his free-agent haul is four one-year contracts (I'm being generous to include Jacob Turner) for a grand total of $10.25M. If there aren't any hard-line terms, it seems that the organization's player valuations don't match other clubs.
Or, perhaps, players' valuation of the White Sox don't match other clubs. In response to a question about Yoenis Cespedes (and a bunch of other rambling stuff; this was a fan question), Hahn did a dance for awhile, made sure to mention the disclaimer that he doesn't talk about anyone in particular, and then offered the story of Paul Konerko after 2005 and how the White Sox benefited from a player wanting to stay with his current team. If you want to take it as a direct analogy, Hahn was suggesting that Alex Gordon and/or Cespedes were offered more money by the White Sox but wanted to stay where they were. Or maybe it was Howie Kendrick.
Further elaboration on these and other topics wasn't forthcoming. Is there money? There's always money for the right player. Is there desire to get the right player? Again, we're not done. Is there a position target? There are a "few specific spots" for the right player. What about right field? We're confident in Avi.
It wasn't all talk about the 2016 team, though. Hahn has determined that the best approach to re-establishing the White Sox in the Latin American market is to be in the market every year. It's unclear whether it's merely coincidental that that approach means the White Sox will be good, law-abiding MLB citizens and not incur MLB's economics sanctions by going over their international bonus pool allotment.
The Dodgers, by the way, have spent $90 million since the July 2 international signing window opened (inclusive of the taxes for the overage) and will be spending more. Their bonus pool is $700,0000 - indeed, their recognition of the high value in breaking the rules is so complete that they actually traded away some of their bonus pool. They won't be able to sign anyone during the next July 2 period. I doubt the buscones and trainers in Latin America will completely forget about the Dodgers during their year off. Dollars spent tend to stick in people's minds for a long time -- just like dollars not spent.
Robin Ventura: "Sabermetrics show that [Adam LaRoche] has a good year every other year."
His dry wit is well-known but, given past managerial performance, this had too much apparent truth to it.
Hahn said Chris Sale told him at the end of the season that the lefty felt strong at the end of the season and could've gone another six or seven starts. I guess that could've been useful.