Hahn: White Sox 'kicking the tires' on smaller moves
CHICAGO -- White Sox general manager Rick Hahn's culinary skills were on display Tuesday night at the Ronald McDonald House in downtown Chicago.
Hahn joined former American League Rookie of the Year Award winner Ron Kittle and approximately 25 other White Sox staff members to take part in the Meals from the Heart program that plans, prepares and serves dinner to residents whose children are receiving treatment at the Lure Children's Hospital only a few blocks away. There were 50 rooms full at the House on Tuesday.
But Hahn couldn't get away from baseball talk even during this tremendous volunteer endeavor. With the eight impact moves already made by Hahn during this offseason, the fans are almost expecting another one, such as free-agent starting pitcher James Shields. They want the type of final addition taking the White Sox from contender to favorite on paper.
By the tone of Hahn's comments, that sort of high-end addition didn't sound likely over the next two weeks before pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., on Feb. 20.
"There are still a few names out there," Hahn said. "[White Sox executive vice president] Kenny [Williams] and I talked about this the other day. There's always one more move in your mind that you would like to make.
"We are certainly, at this time of year, despite what we've accomplished, there's no exception to that mindset right now. But in all probability, what we've done thus far will be what we go to camp with. We are still kicking the tires on a few smaller things, but I wouldn't anticipate there being any alterations between now and the start of camp."
This present early-February window is when things tend to be a little quieter, per Hahn. Teams "are preparing to get to Spring Training, as opposed to looking outside their rosters," according to the White Sox general manager.
"Things will pick up again once we get to camp," Hahn said.
Good health ranks as the No. 1 intangible Hahn wants to see from his team during Spring Training, pointing to the bullpen never really recovering from the onset of Nate Jones' season-long injury issues last Spring Training. He also talked about manager Robin Ventura figuring out how he will use versatile players such as Emilio Bonifacio and Gordon Beckham, and the excitement pitching coach Don Cooper has in working with Hector Noesi, Javy Guerra and Dan Jennings for a full camp.
Optimistic White Sox buzz continues on after hitting a crescendo during SoxFest from Jan. 23-25. Hahn is ready to see this group in action, but with his phone sitting a few feet away from him, he explained that he was all about making grilled cheese sandwiches on Tuesday.
"I'm much better at eating the food than preparing the food, but I'm happy to be here to help out. It's a tremendous program," said Hahn of working with the Ronald McDonald House. "The partnership we have with the Ronald McDonald House has been a great one so far. We look forward to it continuing over the next few years."
"There will be a few smiles on some faces today," Kittle added. "I'm glad I'm here. I'm honored to be here."