It is really over. Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams have been relieved of their duties. It still has not fully sunk in, but this is the reality. For the first time since 1990, Jerry Reinsdorf has fired a White Sox general manager.
As much as I do not like to celebrate people losing their jobs, this is a unique circumstance. Hahn and Williams have been earning high salaries in the White Sox (49-77) front office for as long as I have been a fan, and 2003 was my first year actively rooting for this team. Things have been bad at best on the field since Hahn’s promotion from Assistant GM to GM before the 2013 season. Hahn’s final numbers as GM: 749-893 regular season record, 2-5 postseason record, two postseason appearances, 0-2 postseason series record. Under Hahn, the White Sox averaged 73.9 wins per 162 regular season games. In summary, there were two successful regular seasons and zero successful postseasons in 11 years. Change was necessary, and although it happened later than it should have, Reinsdorf was correct to put his foot down finally.
Naturally, South Side fans welcomed this news given the overall lack of success since 2013, especially the recent debacle of 2022, followed by an even bigger disaster in 2023. However, after the celebrations conclude, it is essential to remember that there is still a long road ahead. As Rob Colletti (aka Berto from the West Side) said in April, “Firing Rick isn’t enough. Firing Kenny isn’t enough. If Chris Getz gets promoted, and we have to sit through another 15-year retool/rebuild, you’re just going to hear from me again in 2038!”
Chicago #WhiteSox owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s patience runs out, fires Ken Williams, Rick Hahn; expected to promote Chris Getz to GM with #Rangers executive Dayton Moore likely joining team too. https://t.co/53U1tOsHwJ— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) August 23, 2023
It is difficult to find any evidence that Getz has earned the opportunity to be the General Manager of a Major League Baseball team. Although Hahn’s tenure was a failure, the initial decision to hire him was defensible. Hahn had the qualifications, and there were no immediate indications that the hiring was strange. By contrast, since 2017, Getz has been the director of a farm system that has been consistently below average. The only exception is the time frame where the White Sox traded a bunch of current talent for future talent in their last rebuild attempt. The trades from this year’s deadline brought them up to the middle of the pack, but player development remains a significant issue. The White Sox continue to fail at polishing up unfinished projects and struggle to find untapped potential that other organizations miss out on. However, other teams manage to get contributions from players who struggled immensely when they were with the White Sox. Getz can hardly handle his current role, so believing he could effectively operate as a GM is difficult.
Reinsdorf accurately described this year as being extremely disappointing on many levels. In addition to having a worse record than 26 out of the other 29 teams, the Pale Hose have dealt with various issues unrelated to baseball. Manager Pedro Grifol, whom the Royals (40-88) let get away after serving as their Bench Coach, had ambitious goals concerning fixing the broken culture. Instead, the organization’s culture is seemingly worse than it was when Grifol arrived.
Speaking of former Royals, Dayton Moore is rumored to join the Chicago front office. Moore was Kansas City’s General Manager from 2006-2021. During that time, the Royals made the playoffs twice. Both of those appearances resulted in a World Series appearance, and they proceeded to win one of those. However, those successful seasons were in 2014 and 2015, and Moore has not accomplished much since.
All of this leads me to one conclusion: the White Sox must look far and wide for their next GM. An internal candidate will not work. Another Royals reject will not work. Suppose this franchise is serious about righting the ship. In that case, it needs to take its time, do its due diligence, and get someone who is disagreeable enough not to accept the previous mistakes that the organization has accepted. Otherwise, the next GM’s tenure might not even be an improvement over Hahn’s.