Hahn: White Sox primed to compete in AL Central

General manager discusses division on MLB Network

Hahn: White Sox primed to compete in AL Central

CHICAGO -- Max Scherzer has left the American League Central. So has James Shields.

While the White Sox haven't sent farewell gifts to these top starters taking their skills to the National League, they certainly aren't saddened to see the Tigers and Royals, respectively, weakened at the top of the AL Central. Yet, it wasn't these top teams seemingly coming back to the pack in the division that drove general manager Rick Hahn throughout his whirlwind offseason featuring eight impact additions via trade or free agency.

"It wasn't so much that we saw them coming back. We saw us possibly getting up to their level as reasonably attainable," said Hahn during a Tuesday interview on MLB Network. "The only role the division really could play is almost as a deterrent from making that push.

"We didn't look around and see the team that won the division the last four years in Detroit or the AL champs in Kansas City as necessarily coming back to the pack. But if we viewed them as impossible for us to get to that level, the level they showed last year and the few years before that, then it might have been, 'This is a fool's errand.'"

At that point, Hahn stated that it wouldn't have made sense to throw "good money after bad" to get to a level that still wasn't going to be good enough to catch those clubs. That thought process existed in 2014, as the White Sox stood in Year 2 of their reshaping process. The White Sox felt they could make that particular jump in 2015, even after posting 63 and 73 wins in each of the last two seasons.

Hahn once again pointed to the Jake Peavy move at the 2013 non-waiver Trade Deadline as the start of this reshaping, with the White Sox able to obtain Avisail Garcia and pitcher Francelis Montas in the three-team deal. They freed up enough cash in that maneuver and the ensuing Alex Rios trade with Texas to make a push to add Jose Abreu in the offseason leading into 2014.

Abreu, Garcia, Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Adam Eaton and now even Carlos Rodon, to name a few, make for a good young nucleus in this organization. During a meeting at the start of this offseason involving chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, Hahn, executive vice president Ken Williams, assistant general manager Buddy Bell, manager Robin Ventura, pitching coach Don Cooper and hitting coach Todd Steverson, the White Sox gave a tough assessment for where they were and realized there were a few more holes than anticipated behind this talented core. The organization didn't want to miss out on the prime of Abreu's and Sale's careers, and the marching orders from Reinsdorf were to go out and put this team in a position to contend.

"We knocked things off the list in fairly rapid succession," said Hahn of his highly efficient offseason. "And we are fairly pleased where we sit right now."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.