CHICAGO -- Rick Hahn joined a conference call with Chicago media Friday to talk about the acquisition of right-handed reliever Alex Colome from Seattle and the non-tenders of arbitration-eligible right fielder Avisail Garcia and infielder/designated hitter Matt Davidson.During his 19-minute talk, the White Sox general manager also was asked about
CHICAGO -- Rick Hahn joined a conference call with Chicago media Friday to talk about the acquisition of right-handed reliever Alex Colome from Seattle and the non-tenders of arbitration-eligible right fielder Avisail Garcia and infielder/designated hitter Matt Davidson.
During his 19-minute talk, the White Sox general manager also was asked about the appearance of Bryce Harper's name with the No. 34 and the White Sox logo on a United Center video board approximately three weeks ago.
"I was at the GM Meetings at the time," Hahn said. "It wasn't me."
After declining to expound on that specific recruiting pitch, Hahn provided a broader look at the potential free-agent target.
"I'm not interested in talking about anyone who isn't a member of the White Sox organization," Hahn said. "I don't think it's even specifically allowed for me to comment on individual free agents.
"We're going to remain consistent with our long-term plan. Guys who potentially fit on that long-term plan, you can certainly reasonably expect us to be fully engaged on and all that entails."
Why does the pursuit of Harper or any other rumored White Sox free agent interest factor into Friday's news? Some might read into the White Sox severing ties with Garcia and Davidson as an indication of bigger moves to come.
That logic ultimately might prove true. But for now, Hahn provided a more direct explanation for each player.
Davidson, 27, came down to the number of at-bats available going to other options with his skillset in 2019. With the possibility of eight relievers and just three bench players on the active roster, the White Sox also wanted to maintain more roster flexibility.
Garcia, 27, battled through an injury-plagued 2018 following a All-Star '17 campaign. Hahn gave credit to Garcia for his fight, while adding that neither Garcia nor Davidson were completely out of the '19 White Sox picture.
"We certainly have not closed the door by any stretch to revisiting them as part of the White Sox going forward," Hahn said. "We are going to have those further conversations in the context of the free-agent environment as opposed to within the constraints of the arbitration system."
Utility player Leury Garcia, one of the seven arbitration-eligible White Sox with Davidson, Avisail Garcia, Jose Abreu, Carlos Rodon, Yolmer Sanchez and factoring in Colome, agreed to a one-year, $1.55 million deal. All remaining unsigned players on the White Sox 40-man roster have been tendered contracts for the 2019 season.
As for upcoming additions, with the Winter Meetings 10 days away, the rebuilding White Sox are not going to spend just for spending's sake. There is an exception to that rule.
"It's important to note that we are by no means losing sight of what we're trying to accomplish over the long term. The long term remains the priority," Hahn said. "We aren't looking to do stopgap fixes, so to speak. In this free-agent market, as I alluded to before, there are potential opportunities to convert on premium talent that would fit along with what we're trying to develop for the long term.
"Usually when you look at a rebuild, entering Year 3, as we are, isn't necessarily the time teams push ahead in a winter and try to advance things and accelerate things unnaturally, and that's not what we're going to do. We're going to stick with the long-term plan. But if, in fact, there is an opportunity to convert on unique talent when it comes available that fits that long-term plan, then yes, we're going to be aggressive and fully explore it."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.