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SoxFest: Hahn seeks to assuage fears

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An upbeat Hahn is a contrast to muted atmosphere at 2017 SoxFest

This was Hahn's response to being asked "WTF James Shields?"
This was Hahn's response to being asked "WTF James Shields?"
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

There have been a lot of questions/theories about the White Sox offseason and, more broadly, The Rebuild. At the first day of SoxFest, Hahn made a concerted effort to calm the concerns that a segment of fans have.

The main talking point Hahn hammered home was that the rebuild is going to be slow. An oft-repeated phrase was "we're closer to the beginning than the end". In seeking to anchor expectations, he mentioned how rebuilds traditionally take five years. He wants to do it as quickly as possible but he's "not going to tell you it will be easy or quick." He offhandedly dropped a reference to 2019 as an example, so perhaps that's what he may have in the back of his mind as a target for competing.

Another was that the White Sox weren't going to be serving "two masters" by attempting to rebuild and compete at the same time. He repeatedly mentioned that he wanted to build depth in the organization so they aren't "patching on the fly" or "chasing stopgaps", implying that's what they've been doing the last few years. He deftly deflected the "what were you thinking with James Shields" question by dodging the specific and speaking generally, saying they were forced to shore up the back-end of the rotation because John Danks was done, Mat Latos was "on borrowed time" and they had nothing in the minors. Hahn doesn't want to be in that position again.

Hahn said that, until today, he wasn't aware of the "internet theory" that Chris Sale and Adam Eaton were traded because of off-the-field issues. He stated unequivocally that their trades had nothing to do with anything like that, making the obvious point that those two are great players and were the most attractive to other teams.

Finally, he addressed the concern that, at the end of The Rebuild, the team wouldn't spend the money necessary to add the final few pieces, flatly stating that "the resources will be there." And, when we see those resources being spent on players outside the organization, that's when you'll know that Hahn thinks the team is one or two seasons away from competing.