Additional power source on White Sox list
Lawrie fills need, but does not signal last deal
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Brett Lawrie would be the starting White Sox third baseman if the upcoming season started on Dec. 9.
Of course, the 2016 season does not start in December. So the acquisition of Lawrie from Oakland on Wednesday night for two Minor League pitchers serves as just another important piece in the White Sox ongoing quest for contention.
"We've got momentum on a couple of different fronts," said White Sox senior vice president/general manager Rick Hahn from the Opryland Hotel at the Winter Meetings. "But in terms of whether anything is going to close while we're still in Nashville, it's hard to say."
Assuming the White Sox don't close anything else by Thursday afternoon, where do they go from here? They clearly aren't in a rebuilding mode, but instead trying to advance forward in their reshaping while pushing for the playoffs.
Their goal since the end of the 2015 season was to improve the offense, and there are a number of options to follow along that path. They have talked to the Reds about third baseman Todd Frazier, a power-hitting force who would move Lawrie to second. The initial asking price was Tim Anderson, the White Sox shortstop of the future and the club's No. 1 prospect per MLB.com, which isn't happening at least as of now.
Colorado outfielders Carlos Gonzalez, Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon could hold some interest, although the White Sox don't want to part with any of their top-flight starting pitching. And let's not forget the high-impact free-agent outfield quartet of Yoenis Cespedes, Jason Heyward, Alex Gordon and Justin Upton.
"There's still payroll room to improve the club," Hahn said. "Absolutely."
Part of the draw for adding Lawrie was his "age, upside, control [two years of arbitration], acquisition cost, and the ability to do other things after acquiring him," according to Hahn. Any doubt as to Hahn's future direction was erased by a one-word answer as to whether he's done reconfiguring the offense.
"No," was Hahn's quick response.
And as Hahn pointed out earlier Wednesday, White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf's aggressive pursuit of winning should never be underestimated.
"Jerry tends to be the most aggressive guy in the room when it comes to putting us in position to win and win quickly," said Hahn. "We explore everything we can.
"Some things are a little more realistic than others from an economic standpoint, but ultimately, if there's something we feel makes us stronger overall from a baseball standpoint, we can bring it to Jerry and have an open and frank conversation. Many times, he's the one in the end advocating for the stretch."