"On my way here [to Spring Training], I was offered [Javier] Baez and [Kyle] Schwarber for Quintana," said Hahn, pausing with a smile for effect.
"It was by the TSA agent at O'Hare [Airport]," Hahn added with a laugh. "So there has been some Cubs-Sox dialogue."
Adding players such as Schwarber and Baez, key contributors to the Cubs' title run, certainly would speed up the White Sox rebuild process even with the subtraction of a talent such as Quintana. But the work done by the White Sox to date certainly can't be overlooked.
This first week of Spring Training has allowed the White Sox to see Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito, Zack Burdi and Zack Collins, to name a few, on the field together and present the team with an early look at its future. Members within the organization aren't the only ones taking notice of the rebuild.
"Rick has done an unbelievable job," said Royals general manager Dayton Moore, who won a World Series crown after undergoing his own rebuild. "They have a lot of great things going on, a lot of people I admire over there."
Moore mentioned director of player development Chris Getz, director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler and Marco Paddy, who is in charge of the team's international pursuits, as three of those White Sox front-office members he admired. Moore has worked with all three, including Getz most recently in Kansas City.
This rebuild has been talked about before by Hahn, executive vice president Ken Williams and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. Hahn gives Reinsdorf the most credit for greenlighting this direction.
"He wanted us to build something sustainable even though his natural demeanor is to want to win and to want to win now," Hahn said. "As competitive as he may be, and he's as competitive as anybody in the organization, he's also smarter than everybody in the organization. He knows where we were and what the realities were."
These few weeks prior to baseball action stand as the slower time in terms of trade talks. But Hahn expects those talks to pick up and hopes the dialogue continues throughout the season.
Just don't expect the Cubs-White Sox trade engineered by the TSA agent to come to fruition.
"I told him that's a nice start. Get back to me and add to it," Hahn said. "I haven't heard from him. So I guess that's the end of that.
"Great Cubs-Sox rumor. Great dialogue, in public in front of everybody. Jed didn't raise it so I don't know if they are not communicating or what."