Hahn striking delicate balance on trade market

White Sox aim to contend, but also keep eye on future

ANAHEIM -- The names of trade targets who could help the White Sox in 2016 have been discussed for weeks.

There's Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, Jay Bruce, Nick Markakis and Josh Reddick, or basically any impact left-handed bat who can play the outfield. But in this difficult revamp-while-contend mode undertaken by general manager Rick Hahn and the White Sox in '13, it's always about finding a balance of getting something important in the present without giving up too much of the future.

"Any time you make a decision to trade the future for the present, you need to balance the likelihood of improving your chances to win now against how great of a detriment are you potentially creating for the organization into the future," Hahn said. "We've talked about now, 2016, there's only one championship you can put yourself in a position to win over the next few months, but at the same time, we do have plans for the future to continue to contend, and we do have players under control beyond 2016 that we think can help us do that.

"We don't want to rob Peter to pay Paul, so to speak. But we've made it pretty clear we've been aggressive over the last few months and we hope to continue to be aggressive over the next several weeks to improve our chances to win this year."

Hahn admitted that presently "it's a strong seller's market," pointing up part of the reason they were so proactive in adding James Shields and Justin Morneau.

"Already this year, you've seen us change 40 percent of the rotation, change the shortstop, add various players to the bullpen, and we're going to continue to operate in that manner," Hahn said. "We're going to try to put ourselves in the best position to win now, and over the next couple of weeks leading up to the Deadline, look for opportunities to get better now and for the future."

Over the first 88 games, the White Sox had runs of 23-10, 10-26 and 12-7 to put them at 45-43 entering the second half and in the playoff picture, but not front and center. Hahn doesn't seem inclined to become a seller, meaning the White Sox continue to look for the right mix to hit all parts of their plan.

"We've certainly shown that we have the ability to contend for a championship. We've shown we have the talent in that clubhouse," Hahn said. "We've shown the ability to rattle off 23 out of 33 over the course of a stretch, and we've shown the ability to beat what are arguably some of the finer teams in the American League, and to do that on the road.

"What we've also shown unfortunately is a frustrating capacity to play inconsistent ball and have trouble with the three teams ahead of us in the division in terms of our head-to-head matchups. Those are the two areas we are looking for improvement over the next few weeks and months if we are to fulfill what we feel is a promising chance to contend. Beat the teams in our division and play a consistent high level of baseball." 

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.