CHICAGO -- The future of the American League Central took an interesting but somewhat expected turn Thursday night when the Tigers entered rebuilding mode by trading Justin Upton and Justin Verlander.
But White Sox general manager Rick Hahn isn't worried about the other teams within his division as the South Siders' rebuild continues. Part of that internal focus comes from the club's rebuild having a greater goal than simply winning the AL Central.
"We need to get our own house in order first," Hahn said. "We need to build what is a championship caliber club at the big league level and a championship caliber organization behind it.
"How our division fits into that will sort of move how high of the bar is in terms of getting into the postseason, but ultimately our goals are about winning a championship. Regardless of how good, bad or indifferent our competition might be within the division, we have to be good enough to beat anybody in baseball."
Achieving that championship goal has taken a significant step forward, albeit still in the early stages, through talent acquisition beginning last December with the trades of Chris Sale to Boston and Adam Eaton to Washington. This season's phase of the process came to a close Thursday night when right-hander Miguel Gonzalez was sent to the Rangers for infield prospect Ti'Quan Forbes.
Hahn was surprised the market wasn't more robust for a quality pitcher and person such as Gonzalez. He also understood teams already viewing themselves as playoff-bound might not see Gonzalez as one of their three rotation arms set for the postseason. Teams chasing a Wild Card spot might not necessarily want to give up long-term assets for a 50-50 playoff proposition.
"Ultimately, we were able to get an interesting prospect back with some upside that our amateur scouts had liked back in 2014 and our pro scouts continued to believe he has some potential, and he just needs some repetition and takes some time," Hahn said. "It all worked out well for Miguel in the end. He has the opportunity to potentially win and we were able to add another potentially intriguing bat to the organization."
As Hahn presides over one of the game's top Minor League systems, he's pleased with the rebuild progress made by the organization.
"When we set off down this path, we were ambitious. We knew we were in a position that was different from a lot of clubs that headed down this path," Hahn said. "We knew we had some premium assets at the big league level that we were likely going to move.
"So we were very ambitious in terms of our expectations about what we were going to be able to bring back. The fact that the plan -- via trade, via the most recent draft, via [signing Cuban prospect] Luis Robert -- has all come together very close to how we envisioned it. … I don't want to say it's surprising, because you want to be able to hit your marks, but we're very pleased we've been able to hit our marks."