White Sox trying to make most of baseball's first work stoppage in 26 years

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago 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, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Chicago.

    Chicago 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, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Chicago.

 
 
Updated 12/2/2021 7:20 PM

Now what?

With major-league players officially locked out by the owners, and commissioner Rob Manfred and union head Tony Clark already pelting each other with blame balls, the White Sox are going to try making the best of a bad situation.

 

Sox general manager Rick Hahn is used to working for weeks and months on end, so a bit of a break would be nice.

"I think my family would probably like it," he said. "If there is a period of time in which I literally can't do anything work-related, I think that might be a positive for the old work/life balance."

Knowing Hahn, he'll continue monitoring the free-agent market and trade opportunities on a daily basis. When the game is back up and running, the Sox's GM wants to be ready.

"No matter the time of year, we try to function in a way that we're prepared to move quickly when an opportunity presents itself," Hahn said. "We have an idea, whether it's on the trade or free-agent front, what we feel is appropriate from a cost standpoint, and when those opportunities arise, we're prepared to move.

"If it happens to be that things are on pause for a little bit, when we come back we'll be ready to go."

If this is a long and drawn-out dispute like the one in 1994-95 that wiped out the World Series and threatened to destroy the game, if the start of next season is delayed, the White Sox likely won't be willing to spend on a high-priced free agent such as Nick Castellanos, who would address a need in right field.

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For now, the Sox do have the money.

"Whether there is 2022 payroll room for a big number I would say, entering the offseason, the answer to that question was yes," Hahn said.

For both sides sake, a deal gets done and spring training starts on time, followed by a normal regular season.

In the meantime, White Sox players are going to be prepare like they'll be in Arizona in February.

Hahn will do the same, even if he winds up having a small window to fill out the roster.

"So be it," he said. "Let's go. Seriously, that's fine. There's something to be said for having a short period in which you can get everything done. We aren't looking to draw things out on our end. You've seen that a few times over the years, in a more normal offseason. Being able to sign a guy like (Yasmani) Grandal early in the offseason, that's how we'd prefer to do things.

"In a traditional offseason you can't really control the pace of things, at which point these markets start moving. So if it ends up that there's a condensed period of time on the other side, so be it. We'll be ready to go."

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