Hahn likes progress, excitement with ballclub

White Sox GM isn't rulling out possible additions to roster

February 14th, 2018

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The term "rebuild" was the most popular word at White Sox camp on Wednesday.

The expression was embraced by some and ignored by others. Its mere definition was up for interpretation.

According to Merriam-Webster, the verb means to make extensive repairs to. Reconstruct. Restore to a previous state. According to the players in the White Sox clubhouse, the word implied some of that, but it also meant don't count this team out because this is baseball, and you never know what can happen.

Spring Training information

"I'm not going to talk about anything other than winning ballgames," manager Rick Renteria said when asked about the R-word. "You can't approach any season in a professional sport other than focusing on the process and hoping for the outcome you're hoping to get.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I'm not going to sell them short. We'll shoot high and we'll see where we fall from there. I'm not going to lower the bar and be happy if we surpass that bar. I'm not that person. We're going to shoot high and see where it falls."

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn makes it clear that he doesn't consider "rebuild" a bad word. And no, that doesn't mean he wants the fans to pump the brakes on their excitement for the upcoming season. It just means it's OK if some choose to slow their roll.

Hahn and Renteria shared lots of other words after the first workout for pitchers and catchers. Here are five key takeaways from their first extended chat of Spring Training.

1. The White Sox are still paying attention to the free-agent market

Could they add more players? That's to be determined. One thing is certain, the club is keeping its options open.

"It's hard for me to predict. Our focus right now is on the guys who are in camp," Hahn said. "We're still having some conversations, whether it's with free agents or even with other clubs as they try to set their rosters that could conceivably lead to additions. But with camp open at this point, our focus is on this group we have here. If more additions come over the coming days and weeks, great."

2. The White Sox are keeping an eye on veteran pitcher

Well, sort of. It's not uncommon for clubs to attend showcases for a player like Lincecum, who has a showcase on Thursday in Seattle, even if they are not in the market for the player's services. It's uncertain if the White Sox will have scouts at the workout, but nobody will be surprised if they do.

"We tend not to talk about where our scouts are, but we cover a lot of ground," Hahn said. "That being said, we have a lot of pitchers in camp right now and we're not actively looking to add there. If the opportunity arises to add some more potential impact, we'll explore it."

3. Be excited about the future and patient with the present

There's definitely a buzz and lots of optimism around camp. That's a good thing.

Narvaez focused entering White Sox camp

"We love the excitement, not only coming out of that clubhouse but from our fans as well," Hahn said. "We're not going to do anything to stifle that level of excitement. At the same time, we know we're one year into a rebuild. These things traditionally take longer than that. We're thrilled with the progress we've made in the last year, but we know we still have a fair amount of work to go in this process. You've heard me said repeatedly, it's an important year from a player development standpoint. You've heard me say some of that development occurs at the big-league level. As more and more of these young guys continue to matriculate and become part of the big league club, there's going to continue to be development but if that comes with a level of enthusiasm and then success that is earlier than anticipated, fantastic."

4. Expect the unexpected

Who will be this year's ? Is there another Nicky Delmonico ready to emerge in 2018?

"I think there are inevitably going to surprises. Unfortunately, you sort of prepare for the bad ones because you know there is going to be injuries along the way or under-performers," Hahn said. "You just have to brace yourself with enough depth, but those pleasant surprises are really something special. A year ago at this time, no one was really talking about Nicky Delmonico and we'll see what the future holds in terms of his role on a championship club, but he's a guy that has the talent, had the pedigree and that personality helps make him a leader in the clubhouse."

5. Players love Renteria and he loves them right back

Rickfest. Renterpalooza. Ricklove. Call it what you will, but there's no denying the players' affection for their manager. His high-energy style and solid communication skills make him a clubhouse favorite. He gets them.

"Every competitor in their own work, they take it seriously and they want to execute things they know will put them in position to have success," Renteria said. "You want them to understand it's OK to be a little irked with themselves if they miss a spot. They all know they'll make an adjustment to correct. I would rather have a guy who will run through a brick wall than I need to slow down rather than I guy I have to push. They're a neat group. I'm excited about them. They're driven. We talk about motivating and encouraging them to aspire, but these guys are motivated. Maybe they inspire us a little bit."