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White Sox won't stray from plan at Meetings

Club focused on rebuild despite big moves by other AL clubs
MLB.com @scottmerkin

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton officially was announced as the newest member of the Yankees on Monday during the Winter Meetings.

That media conference followed two days after Shohei Ohtani's introduction by the Angels on Saturday, making the American League even more difficult at the top. But these new sensations don't really have any effect on the overall plan for the rebuilding White Sox, who understand patience is a virtue both with their young prospects' development and in terms of potential moves within the trade or free-agent market this week.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton officially was announced as the newest member of the Yankees on Monday during the Winter Meetings.

That media conference followed two days after Shohei Ohtani's introduction by the Angels on Saturday, making the American League even more difficult at the top. But these new sensations don't really have any effect on the overall plan for the rebuilding White Sox, who understand patience is a virtue both with their young prospects' development and in terms of potential moves within the trade or free-agent market this week.

"It doesn't change for us what we're trying to build," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "We know we need to have a club that is capable of winning in the vicinity of 95 games a year to guarantee ourselves a spot in the postseason.

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"Certainly we prefer the quality impact players to stay in the National League or outside our division at least, but it doesn't change the type of players we're trying to acquire for the long term, the type of team we're trying to build for the long term. Had both those players landed in the National League it wouldn't have allowed us a moment's rest to take our foot off the gas in terms of what we're trying to create."

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In reality, the White Sox busiest of these four days at the Winter Meetings could come on Thursday morning during the Rule 5 Draft. The club's 40-man roster presently sits at 36.

Monday's media line of questioning for Hahn was fairly standard for Day 1 of the Winter Meetings: Has interest picked up for players such as first baseman Jose Abreu and outfielder Avisail Garcia? Is there extra pressure to get deals done at the Winter Meetings? Are other teams fearful of dealing with Hahn following the prospect haul he assembled this past year?

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Hahn laughed at the last question, while providing a quick counter.

"At least one general manager jokingly said that to me a few weeks back," Hahn said. "I quickly pointed out how many former White Sox were contributing in October on playoff teams. We were able to move the conversation because of that."

The market still appears to be developing for Garcia, 26, who broke out last season with a .330 average, .885 OPS, 137 OPS+ and 80 RBIs. Abreu's value, much like that of Garcia, goes beyond on-field contributions in the leadership department.

With two years of control on each in the midst of a rebuild, the White Sox certainly can wait well past the Winter Meetings to decide on future fits for both players.

"Again, it's easier to line up when you're in different spots in your success cycle, and the clubs we've been dealing with in the last 12 months have benefited from enhancing their positions into the postseason," Hahn said. "And it seems we've enhanced our position for the long term as well.

"If we're able to find a similar match in the coming days, we'll move on it. But at this point my common theme of needing to be patient needs to be reiterated, not necessarily for White Sox nation, but for those of us up in the room."

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

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