White Sox fire executive VP Ken Williams, GM Rick Hahn

The White Sox' turbulent 2023 campaign reached an apex Tuesday afternoon as the team decided to relieve executive VP Ken Williams and general manager Rick Hahn of their duties.

"This is an incredibly difficult decision for me to make because they are both talented individuals with long-term relationships at the White Sox," Jerry Reinsdorf, the team's chairman, said in a statement. "Ken is like a son to me, and I will always consider him a member of my family.

"I want to personally thank Ken and Rick for all they have done for the Chicago White Sox, winning the 2005 World Series and reaching the postseason multiple times during their tenures."

Williams was in his 11th season in his role after serving as GM from 2001-12. Hahn has been in charge since.

The Sox said they will search for "a single decision-maker to lead the baseball operations" and will have that person in place by the end of the season.

While USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported two days ago that "drastic changes" were being considered, nothing like this was evident in the hours leading up to Tuesday night's White Sox game against Seattle at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Hahn was seen chatting with a reporter on the field at 4:15 p.m., and Grifol spoke about numerous team meetings over the last week like they were no big deal.

Grifol, speaking after the White Sox' 6-3 loss to Seattle, said "it was emotional" when he found out about the firings.

"When you start the season with expectations and we don't meet them as a group, unfortunately this stuff happens," Grifol said. "Two great men today lost their jobs after a long, long tenure here doing a lot of great things - bringing (a) world championship to this city.

"It's unfortunate. All of us in that room are responsible for that."

A major criticism of Reinsdorf is that he's given far too much rope to the people he puts in charge.

He's loyal to a fault.

But it was difficult to ignore all the carnage that's surrounded this team over the past two seasons.

So, finally, the 87-year-old owner put the hammer down.

"Ultimately, the well-worn cliché that professional sports is results-oriented is correct," Reinsdorf said. "While we have enjoyed successes as an organization and were optimistic heading into the competitive window of this rebuild, this year has proven to be very disappointing for us all on many levels."

Williams and Hahn released separate statements at 10 p.m.

Williams' was long and poignant, saying in part: "I want to take time to first thank White Sox fans who went out of their way throughout the years to offer support and encouragement. Often this would happen on the street or in a restaurant or on one of my morning walks, and it always surprised me. ...

"At my inaugural presser, I spoke of winning multiple championships. ... I am a bottom line guy, and the bottom line is we didn't get it done."

The Sox have qualified for the postseason just twice under Hahn - in 2020 during a pandemic-shortened 60-game campaign and in 2021 when they went 93-69.

They were quickly eliminated in both opening-round series, going 2-5 overall.

In 2022, the Sox were the definition of mediocrity and appropriately finished 81-81 under manager Tony LaRussa.

Then came this season, which has been an out-and-out disaster from Day 1.

Grifol's squad lost 21 of the first 28 games to essentially seal their fate in the AL Central.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

The disastrous results forced Hahn to trade pitchers Lucas Giolito, Kendall Graveman, Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly and Keynan Middleton, as well as third baseman Jake Burger.

Days after Middleton joined the Yankees, he blasted the Sox' clubhouse atmosphere and culture to reporters in New York.

The Sox had "no rules." Rookies slept in the bullpen during games. Guys missed fielding practice and suffered no consequences.

And on and on.

"I feel like some guys don't want to speak up when they should have," Middleton said. "It's hard to police people when there are no rules. If guys are doing things that you think are wrong, who is it wrong to? You or them? It's anyone's judgment at that point."

Hahn immediately went into damage control, but when a team is bombing like the Sox are the damage is already done.

And the final mushroom cloud went up Tuesday.

• • •

White Sox record under general manager Rick Hahn

2013: 63-99, 5th place in division

2014: 73-89, 4th

2015: 76-86, 4th

2016: 78-84, 4th

2017: 67-95, 4th

2018: 62-100, 4th

2019: 72-89, 3rd

2020: 35-25, 3rd*

2021: 93-69, 1st*

2022: 81-81, 2nd

2023 so far: 49-76, 4th

Totals: 749-893

* qualified for postseason

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