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White Sox happy to have quieter Meetings

Faster than expected development of in-house prospects let Hahn be conservative
MLB.com @scottmerkin

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- White Sox general manager Rick Hahn had a different vision for the 2017 Winter Meetings that concluded Thursday than when the organization's rebuild plan was devised last offseason.

Hahn thought the White Sox would need another four-day run, such as the one they had at the 2016 Winter Meetings, when ace hurler Chris Sale and leadoff man/right fielder Adam Eaton were traded to Boston and Washington, respectively, for a return of seven prospects, including second baseman Yoan Moncada and right-handed pitchers Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. But the White Sox actually moved ahead of schedule through those returns, not to mention the prospects like outfielder Eloy Jimenez obtained during in-season trades.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- White Sox general manager Rick Hahn had a different vision for the 2017 Winter Meetings that concluded Thursday than when the organization's rebuild plan was devised last offseason.

Hahn thought the White Sox would need another four-day run, such as the one they had at the 2016 Winter Meetings, when ace hurler Chris Sale and leadoff man/right fielder Adam Eaton were traded to Boston and Washington, respectively, for a return of seven prospects, including second baseman Yoan Moncada and right-handed pitchers Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. But the White Sox actually moved ahead of schedule through those returns, not to mention the prospects like outfielder Eloy Jimenez obtained during in-season trades.

That accelerated pace, along with the free-agent acquisition of catcher Welington Castillo prior to these Winter Meetings, allowed Chicago to make no moves and still feel very good about where it stands overall. It also gave the White Sox a chance to explore other avenues, including a reported offer for Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado, which Hahn would not confirm Thursday following the Rule 5 Draft.

What's next
Putting the franchise in the best possible position to win future World Series titles remains Hahn's focus. But adding veteran help to the bullpen and the starting rotation remains an immediate target for the team.

"We're going to continue to be true to this process and continue to be opportunistic when the possibilities arise to further brighten our long-term future," Hahn said. "At the same time, we do have to make some short-term commitments. We obviously have some needs on the pitching staff and want to make sure we solidify that over the coming weeks."

Video: Hahn on Fulmer's continued development

With the starting-pitching market a little slower to develop this offseason, Hahn believes those moves could run even into January. As for the pursuit of Machado, who has one year of contractual control remaining before free agency, Hahn only would re-iterate that the Sox are focused on planning for the future.

"We are very interested in premium young talent that can be here for the long term," Hahn said. "That hasn't changed, whether that's prospect-level talent you've seen us accumulate over the last year, or young players that are already in the big leagues.

"But again the focus remains on putting ourselves in the best position for the long term. Nothing has changed in that regard."

Rule 5 Draft
There were two Rule 5 targets for the White Sox, per Hahn, who didn't list either player by name. One player was taken before the White Sox pick at No. 4, and the second player will be in need of surgery soon according to an email sent by Major League Baseball to teams Wednesday night. The White Sox selected outfielder Carlos Tocci from the Philadelphia system and traded him for cash considerations to the Rangers. Their 40-man roster remains at 36, and they did not lose any player left unprotected from the 40-man during the Rule 5. More >

GM's bottom line
"All 30 clubs sort of leave here and take a breath and kind of revisit conversations, both with free agents and trades over the coming days. We'll just have to continue those conversations and see how it unfolds through the weekend and into next week." -- Hahn

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook.

Chicago White Sox