A full 24 days after the White Sox season ended at the hands of the Houston Astros — more than twice the delay following 2020’s playoff exit — Rick Hahn finally addressed the media, Nothing particularly important was revealed, though there should be more in the coming days. As per usual, the team is remaining tight-lipped about their plans, be they overarching or underwhelming, for the coming months.
Among the issues addressed this afternoon were:
The injury issues that some might argue sank the 2021 team:
Allen Thomas’ contract is not being renewed. White Sox “reimagining” the strength and conditioning department.— jon greenberg (@jon_greenberg) November 5, 2021
Other staff announcements, i.e., the official return of the 2021 crew:
Rick Hahn announces Tony La Russa and entire coaching staff will return.#WhiteSox— Ryan McGuffey (@RyanMcGuffey) November 5, 2021
Current injury statuses (including a second knee surgery for Yasmani Grandal):
Yasmani Grandal had a knee surgery and Adam Engel had a shoulder surgery. They expect them to be ready for next season— Herb Lawrence (@Ecnerwal23) November 5, 2021
Lance Lynn is resting and rehabilitating his right knee. He will be evaluated in a few weeks to see if a minor procedure will be necessary, but is expected to be good to go for the start of spring.— James Fegan (@JRFegan) November 5, 2021
Some reflections on the past season (and its conclusion):
Hahn on ALDS: "Astros were better than for us for those four days, or at least three of those four."— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) November 5, 2021
Hahn also stressed numerous positives from '21 and they like the direction of the team. They have work to do but they have realistic goals to win the World Series.— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) November 5, 2021
Rick Hahn, on whether it was a successful season after the Sox lost in the ALDS: “I tend to be binary about these things. Its pass/fail. We didn’t win the final game of the postseason so we didn’t meet our ultimate goal. That said there is a lot of reason for hope going forward.”— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) November 5, 2021
Hahn said he doesn’t regret the decisions on deadline deals for Kimbrel, Hernández and Tepera, but:— James Fegan (@JRFegan) November 5, 2021
"Obviously it didn’t work out because those moves didn’t result in winning a World Series."
Hahn: "We didn't win the final game of the postseason so we didn't meet our ultimate goal. How can we possibly be satisfied."— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) November 5, 2021
The 2022 roles for Michael Kopech and Garrett Crochet:
Hahn said they envision Kopech leaving the bullpen and joining the rotation in '22— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) November 5, 2021
Rick Hahn said next year’s role for Garrett Crochet is undetermined. Floated a 2021 Kopech-like role of working longer outings in relief at the big league level, as well as the option to start in the minors— James Fegan (@JRFegan) November 5, 2021
“We still view him as having the potential to be a starter long-term."
A decision on César Hernández and the departure of Brian Goodwin (among others) was announced by the team, if not discussed by Hahn:
The White Sox won't be picking up the $6 million option on second baseman Cesar Hernandez next season. He's a free agent.— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) November 5, 2021
White Sox made an official announcement reflecting the moves on their transactions page. Their 40-man roster is at 34 as Jace Fry, Brian Goodwin, Evan Marshall and Jimmy Cordero become free agents. pic.twitter.com/kgRYGt86f1— James Fegan (@JRFegan) November 5, 2021
Forthcoming decisions on Craig Kimbrel and Carlos Rodón, which, if we’re being honest, have almost certainly already been made:
Rick Hahn is not announcing option nor qualifying offer decisions yet ahead of this weekend’s deadline. But on Carlos Rodón, he said:— James Fegan (@JRFegan) November 5, 2021
“It’d be great to bring him back in some capacity"
Hahn said option decisions coming Saturday— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) November 5, 2021
The outlook for this offseason and beyond:
Hahn said they have a general sense budget-wise moving forward— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) November 5, 2021
Hahn said right field could be an area to address this offseason, but quickly also mentioned Andrew Vaughn and Gavin Sheets as guys who provide options both there and at DH, 1B— James Fegan (@JRFegan) November 5, 2021
Hahn: "You need multiple shots on goal in order to score. You need to get in to have a chance. It was good to get in two years in a row, but we haven't reached our final goal yet."— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) November 5, 2021
After the press conference concluded, the team announced the cancellation of SoxFest for the second consecutive year due to covid concerns:
SoxFest 2022 is canceled. In a team statement, White Sox cite COVID protocols for indoor settings making the normal SoxFest experience impossible pic.twitter.com/zWW7ZzFGlh— James Fegan (@JRFegan) November 5, 2021
CBA concerns were not addressed, though they’ll undoubtedly play a significant role in determining offseason strategy. If there is other news expected to drop along with decisions on Kimbrel and Rodón this weekend, it hasn’t been made public.
Stay tuned to South Side Sox for more writer analysis on the looming decisions and offseason, as well as any breaking news on Kimbrel and Rodón.