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updated: 1/22/2014 6:49 PM

No Tanaka on South Side? Hahn has no regrets

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  • Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn watches a spring training baseball workout, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, in Phoenix.

      Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn watches a spring training baseball workout, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, in Phoenix.

 
 

The Yankees missed the playoffs last season, only the second time that's happened since 1995.

The Yankees have a suspect starting rotation.

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The Yankees really liked right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, and they have reportedly been scouting the Japanese sensation since 2007.

The Yankees sent an eight-man party to Los Angeles two weeks ago for a faces-to-face meeting with the 25-year-old Tanaka.

The Yankees have money to burn, always have.

The Yankees. on Wednesday, signed Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million contract, plus a $20 million posting fee to the Rakuten Golden Eagles, his former team in the Japan Pacific League.

Even though other major-league teams -- the White Sox, Cubs, Dodgers and Diamondbacks for sure -- made offers to Tanaka, it should come as no surprise the Yankees came away with the big prize.

Upon reflection hours after the signing was announced, Sox general manager Rick Hahn had no regrets.

"In the end, obviously he wound up elsewhere, but we view this as a situation where you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take and it was worth the effort," Hahn said. "We saw Mr. Tanaka as a player who could compliment and fit in nicely to some of the other things we've accomplished over the last several months. As a potential longterm fit into the rotation, we saw him as someone who would fit in nicely behind Chris Sale, give us a nice 1-2 punch for the foreseeable future.

"Obviously, it didn't work out and we'll continue to move on and look for similar such solutions as they present themselves in free agency or via trade or whatever avenues present themselves over the coming weeks and months. It didn't work out but we certainly don't regret any part of our involvement in this."

Considering Tanaka has never thrown a major-league pitch and already has 1,315 innings on his arm over seven seasons in Japan, maybe the White Sox will one day be happy they fell expectedly short in the bidding.

But when Hahn, vice president Kenny Williams and manager Robin Ventura met with Tanaka in Beverly Hills on Jan. 9, they had very high hopes.

"I will say there have been multiple reports about the magnitude of our offer, the seriousness of our offer and for once, these rumors seems to be somewhat accurate in terms of the intensity of our pursuit and our efforts to get this done," Hahn said. "In the end, it just drifted to a level ... the market took it to a level that we were just weren't comfortable going to in terms of the commitment and the cost of the franchise going forward."

While Hahn declined to reveal the Sox' bid for Tanaka, it's safe to assume the minimum offer was $100 million.

That's a significant sum for a franchise that lost 99 games last season, hasn't been to the playoffs since 2008 and has dealt with declining attendance every year since '07.

It also begs the question -- is Hahn looking to spend big on another player now that the Tanaka sweepstakes are over?

"It was a substantial economic offer and if a similar situation presets itself in terms of the ability to find a longterm solution for one of our needs, we'll be able to dip into those resources again I believe, as was the case with (Jose) Abreu," Hahn said. "Assessing free agency right now, as we sit here on Jan. 22, I don't necessarily see a similar opportunity on the free-agent market at this time. Perhaps via trade down the road or into and beyond next season, a similar situation will arise and I expect us to be similarly aggressive."

Second baseman Gordon Beckham said he paid close attention to the Tanaka saga. While disappointed they didn't land the starter who was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA for Rakuten last season, Beckham thinks the White Sox are doing a good job moving away from last season's nightmarish showing.

"I was hoping we would land him, obviously," Beckham said. "But I know that they put in a strong bid and came up short. I think Tanaka probably wanted to go to New York anyway. It's what it sounded like. We gave it a shot and I think it shows a lot of the organization of where they want to go and how they want this train to roll. I was excited to hear that we were even interested because sometimes in years past we haven't been.

"We missed that one, but there are still guys out there. Maybe we do something, maybe we don't, but we're in a much better place I think than we were at the start of the season last year, even though we came in with all those expectations."

•Follow Scot's White Sox and baseball reports on Twitter @scotgregor.

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