Hahn gets glimpse of future at instructional league

White Sox GM on hand in Arizona to see Guerrero, Hansen and others

Hahn gets glimpse of future at instructional league

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox senior vice president and general manager Rick Hahn moved between two back fields at Camelback Ranch on Wednesday morning, watching his organization's future in action during the final days of instructional league.

There were highly-touted international signings, such as Josue Guerrero, getting their first official look at professional baseball. Guerrero was participating along with right-handed hurler Alec Hansen, the team's No. 8 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, finishing off an incredible opening season after being selected in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft.

Top Prospects: Hansen, CWS

This promising core represents an organization working hard to build up its once-depleted system, but most of the key individuals won't be big-league ready by 2017. That factor certainly influences Hahn's mindset with the rebuilding or adding on being discussed during this current offseason.

"It makes you feel that if, in fact, you are going to focus strictly on trying to win in '17, you are going to have to go outside and you may have to put a little bit of a dent into some of what you already started to build into the future, which weighs into it," Hahn told MLB.com. "You might have to use some of them [in trades] if that's your focus.

"If your focus is decidedly more on the future, then you look to augment this talent from outside via trade and grow it together and target a date in the future. This is obviously not about 2017, what's going on out here.

"We are all very much focused on what's next for the big league club," Hahn said. "At the same time, it's nice to be down here and see the fruits of the labor of our amateur scouts and international scouts with the last couple of Draft classes, and the last couple of July 2 [international signing] classes all coming together in one place."

What's next for the White Sox has not been made clear by Hahn. Then again, there's really nothing to be gained by announcing a rebuild, for example, only to find out lofty demands for controlled All-Star talents such as Chris Sale or Jose Quintana can't be met.

Playoff teams such as the Rangers and the Red Sox could have added interest in the White Sox southpaw aces after each club failed to post a quality start while being swept during their American League Division Series losses. Hahn is well aware of the interest.

"People tend to perhaps overreact to small samples in October," Hahn said. "But I'm guessing, based on how things have gone so far ... we expected a lot of calls heading into the offseason, and this probably only reinforces that idea."

Regardless of the direction chosen, Hahn believes the team remains on the right development path.

"You get the feeling that there's been a significant step up in terms of the talent level walking around this instructional league," Hahn said. "You can see this talent pool is going to potentially have a real nice impact in Chicago down the road.

"We are getting closer to where we want to be. You add a few more classes to these that are here over the next couple of years, and all of a sudden you've got yourself a critical mass of potentially homegrown impact talent. That's the goal of any organization."

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.