White Sox interested in playing in Cuba
Club's connections to country make it a natural choice
CHICAGO -- Count the White Sox among the teams which would like to be considered for possible Spring Training exhibition games that could take place next year in Cuba, an idea that Commissioner Rob Manfred discussed at the General Managers Meetings this week in Boca Raton, Fla., assuming all diplomatic concerns could be assuaged.
"That would be interesting," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn told reporters in Florida on Wednesday. "I think we'd be a strong candidate for that, given not just our current roster but our history. It would be appealing and a great experience for the players and good for the game."
Jose Abreu just completed his second straight season with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs to start his career with the White Sox and would be the prime Cuban native as part of the lineup. But fellow Cubans Jose Contreras and Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez served as integral parts of the 2005 World Series champions, while Alexei Ramirez was a productive part of the team since 2008 and the team's starting shortstop since '09, before the White Sox declined their $10 million club option on him for the upcoming season.
And of course, Minnie Minoso, the first black player in White Sox history, was as highly beloved as he was accomplished during his storied career and even after he was done playing. Hahn said that they would first talk to White Sox players to make sure they were comfortable playing in Cuba if the situation arose.
"There are logistical considerations, making sure you don't disrupt your Spring Training regimen too much," Hahn said. "In general concept, it's intriguing, and I'm sure it'll be a great trip for whoever winds up doing it."
• With talks coming to a close at the General Managers Meetings, Hahn expects to begin evaluating the cost of a trade and compare it to what agents are asking.
"It's a process," Hahn said. "There's a reason you see more activity around the Winter Meetings than these meetings because guys are more trying to evaluate their options at this time of year as opposed to execute. At the same time, if the right proposal comes across our desk and teams feel we're being reasonable, we'll be able to pull the trigger sooner ourselves."
• Hahn understands the national story the Cubs have become after winning 97 games and reaching the National League Championship Series. He certainly doesn't begrudge them the attention, even if the Cubs questions bleed across town to the White Sox at times.
"We need to get ourselves to that same point where you're bugging them about us," Hahn said.