Hahn: Successful season aside, Sox failed to meet 'ultimate goal'

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, center, talks with pitching coach Ethan Katz, left, and manager Tony La Russa before Game 3 of a baseball American League division series against the Houston Astros. The White Sox won the AL Central for the first time since 2008 last season and they set a franchise record by making the playoffs for the second straight year. In the end, however, GM Rick Hahn said there's no reason to be satisfied.

    White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, center, talks with pitching coach Ethan Katz, left, and manager Tony La Russa before Game 3 of a baseball American League division series against the Houston Astros. The White Sox won the AL Central for the first time since 2008 last season and they set a franchise record by making the playoffs for the second straight year. In the end, however, GM Rick Hahn said there's no reason to be satisfied. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 11/5/2021 7:36 PM

Before looking ahead to assembling a roster for next year, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn took a look back Friday.

In his first comments since the Sox were knocked out the American League division series by the Astros, Hahn saw good and bad over the past season.

 

The White Sox won the AL Central for the first time in 13 years. They made it to the playoffs for the second straight year, which had never been done in franchise history.

On the flip side, the Sox entered the postseason with high hopes but were easily eliminated by Houston in four games.

Starters Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease and Carlos Rodon combined to pitch only 12⅓ innings in the ALDS and they allowed 14 runs on 14 hits and 12 walks.

The White Sox's offense scored 18 runs vs. the Astros, but 35 of their 41 hits were singles.

"I tend to be binary when it comes to these things," Hahn said on a Zoom call. "It's pass/fail. We didn't win the final game of the postseason so we didn't meet our ultimate goal. If you're looking for my personal assessment, we didn't reach the ultimate final goal, so how can we possibly be satisfied?

"That said, there is a lot of reason for hope and optimism. We like where we are as an organization, the direction this team is going. This is what we worked for, to be in a position on an annual basis to have realistic World Series aspirations. As we sit here on Nov. 5 we can realistically say that."

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The Sox did announce some roster moves, none of them significant.

Relief pitchers Evan Marshall, Jimmy Cordero and Jace Fry and outfielder Brian Goodwin were outrighted to Class AAA Charlotte, making them free agents.

The White Sox purchased reliever Anderson Severino's contract from Charlotte, so the 40-man roster now stands at 34.

As for Carlos Rodon, who was one of the best starting pitchers in baseball when healthy last season, he's likely headed for free agency. The Sox have until Sunday to make the left-hander a qualifying offer ($18.4 million).

"There's only so much I'm allowed to say, but I can certainly praise how fantastic he was for us over the bulk of the season and that it would be great to figure out a way to bring him back in some capacity," Hahn said of Rodon, who was 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA in 24 starts. "Obviously, this isn't our first foray into free agency with Carlos. We had a similar situation last offseason when we had an interest in bringing him back and were able to work it out.

"We'll see how the market unfolds. He's coming from a much better position which we all benefitted from over the course of the '21 season. From that standpoint, it's a bittersweet day. He met that potential and now obviously he has the benefit of exploring his free-agent options."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Sox are reportedly taking a pass on second baseman Cesar Hernandez's $6 million option for 2022, which is no surprise.

Hahn is expected to pick up Craig Kimbrel's $16 million option for next season and move the relief pitcher in a trade.

The White Sox's GM also announced manager Tony La Russa and the entire coaching staff are coming back in 2022, but longtime strength and conditioning coach Allen Thomas is out.

SoxFest is also canceled for the second straight year due to COVID-19.

"As we continue to try and predict and manage COVID-related protocols in indoor settings, we believe it is not possible to carry out the traditional experience and activities that have made SoxFest special, like autographs, photos and guest appearances," the White Sox said in a statement.

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