LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The White Sox have spent the past year turning a Minor League system ranked No. 25-30 into one of the top five in the game.
So would general manager Rick Hahn turn around and trade some of that critical mass of players assembled for a young but established and accomplished veteran? The word "control," as in contractual control, played a major part in Hahn's answer on Tuesday evening during the Winter Meetings.
"It's conceivable, yes. But it would have to be with the idea of extended control being part of it: Whether it's because he's also a similar-situated prospect or a similar-timeline prospect or a very young big leaguer," Hahn said. "That's an important part of this for us.
"We're not looking at stopgaps. We're not looking to jump up and contend for one Wild Card and then regress back. We're trying to build something that's going to last and extended control is part of that."
A player such as the Marlins' Christian Yelich fits that Hahn profile, as an example, with the 26-year-old, .290 career hitter having four years remaining on a seven-year, $49.57 million deal with a 2022 option. When the name Yelich was mentioned specifically Tuesday but somewhat in jest after a few general questions to Hahn on the matter, he quipped that he couldn't hear the question.
Patience and development have been talked about during this White Sox rebuild, although Hahn said talent procurement still will take place. This season centers on highly touted prospects stepping up in the Minors and, in some cases, with the White Sox, and showing where the rebuild has good fits but also where needs should be filled.
So the 2018 offseason, when the White Sox move toward the contention phase of this rebuild, becomes a more likely time for the aforementioned sort of deal.
"We'll have a much better understanding of which of this group is going to be taking a step forward," Hahn said. "We'll certainly have a better understanding of what the timelines are and where potential holes may exist.
"To do such a trade at this point would be a little bit conjecture in terms of, 'We think there's going to be a hole there, we think we have depth there,' whereas a year from now we'll have a lot more information along those lines.
"We're open to it," Hahn said. "But just maybe perhaps being too candid, I think that a prospect-for-prospect, dealing from strength to address a need type of deal, we're probably still a few months away from something like that."