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Same season leads to same issues for White Sox front office

Rick Hahn is in familiar position of denying rifts and weighing a sale

Jon Durr/Getty Images

Rick Hahn spoke to the media on Thursday, which was only strange because he was accused of ducking the media a few days before. He sought to clear the air on that part before the session ...

Hahn hadn't done a full media session since the Aug. 1 trade deadline, but before talking for 13 minutes, he said he didn't want his accessibility to be a question after Tribune baseball columnist Paul Sullivan suggested he was avoiding the media.

... and indeed, it seemed fairly mundane once he began. He gave injury updates. He gave a vague preview of the offseason. You know, the usual:

Yup, there was even that, as Hahn tried to smack down David Kaplan and his sources, phenomenal and otherwise.

"The frustrating thing is it seems every few months we need to have this same conversation," Hahn said. "The fact of the matter is I have no idea where an unnamed random report of any discord at the deadline came from. It’s simply untrue. There was no trade or direction of whatever it was described as vetoed, so to speak, at the deadline.

"We are of a similar mindset as to how best to proceed. We’ve had a number of conversations, both Kenny and I, as well as Kenny, Jerry and I, about the best way to approach the offseason and what we want to accomplish. And once the offseason rolls around we will start executing that plan."

"It’s just, frankly, tired news and repetitive and there’s nothing there. None of us would be here doing what we do if we didn’t feel we were set up to have the potential for success."

I can imagine it’s frustrating, and it's kinda remarkable that Hahn and Kenny Williams have been working together as long as they have and the media expects there to be tension -- or there is tension, but nobody has a closer source that gives them better, more detailed stuff. They're not exactly new in town.

Still, I find my sympathy in short supply. A big part of the reason Hahn keeps facing these same questions is because the White Sox keep producing the same season: under .500, out of it by the deadline, yet with no drastic direction taken or anybody held accountable.

If the Sox were in the thick of the wild card hunt and Hahn had to stomp down these rumors, then I could understand and expect indignation. Instead, Hahn might be a little lucky that the biggest question is one for which he already has a ready retort, because that means he’s still in a position to make decisions for this team. He and Williams wouldn’t have such an opportunity in most cases. Even the famously loyal, insular Minnesota Twins upended their front office after five losing seasons in six years.

Hahn wouldn’t reveal the direction he has in mind for the winter, and he shouldn’t be expected to at this point, as that would only make his manager’s job harder  (and this would be the case for an interim manager, too). The best foreshadowing he could come up with:

"By the time we make our first or second transaction, publicly it will be fairly clear as to our direction. And while we aren’t going to say ‘next on our list is this’ it will be obvious what we’re trying to accomplish.’’

Officially, that says nothing. Between the lines — or maybe that’s just me hoping — it might be a backhanded reference to the previous offseason, when the start of the Sox’ activity ended up looking more like a spasm than anything intentional. The Todd Frazier trade signaled an aggressive winter, only to be followed by dormancy and bargain signings that failed to pan out. Jimmy Rollins is doing studio work, Mat Latos is trying to rebuild himself in Washington’s farm system, and Austin Jackson’s season ended with his knee injury.

Hahn confirmed that last part on Thursday, which had been safer and safer to assume. The White Sox never set a firm timetable on a potential return, only saying he would miss a minimum of six weeks. Once that lapsed and nobody mentioned a rehab stint on the horizon, the writing was on the wall.

As for the rest of the infimary, Matt Davidson is also done for the year as breaking his foot running the bases in his first and only game for the White Sox:

"(I) would not expect (Davidson) either. It was a pretty bad fracture. It’s progressing and he’s hitting the early milestones. There just isn’t enough time for either of those two."

He had better news for Brett Lawrie and Miguel Gonzalez. For Lawrie, an injury that was first identified as a strained hamstring and also included his knee and quad has been localized to his knee and calf. By comparison, Gonzalez’s recovery from his strained groin is more straightforward, with one more bullpen session before a rehab stint.