It feels like an eternity since the excitement of Winter Meetings captivated Chicago White Sox fans when Rick Hahn thrust the storied organization into an accelerated rebuild.
Spring Training kicked off on Tuesday as pitchers and catchers reported to camp, eager to pass their physicals and get to work. With a horde of reporters surrounding Camelback Ranch, Rick Hahn fielded questions with the articulate eloquence of a well-versed orator. Hahn even signaled the pace of trade negotiations will relax as focus shifts to preparing for the season.
White Sox GM Rick Hahn on trade talks throughout spring training: pic.twitter.com/cNRzkfgbzH
— Colleen Kane (@ChiTribKane) February 14, 2017
But Hahn slipped a tasty morsel into an MLBTR.com interview that swam right by most mics.
“…yes, we did have two deals – with different clubs, involving different players – die at the ownership approval stage when the other clubs decided in the end that the deal did not work for them,” remarked Hahn to MLBTR’s Brett Balantini.
It is surprising that Hahn candidly shared this information even though the deals fell through. Yet, this kind of cryptic passage holds a haunting note to those who frequently pontificate on the next move.
On opening night of SoxFest, Hahn alluded to a deal that fell through on Christmas Eve. Could one of these aborted deals have been with the Houston Astros? In looking back over that time period the New York Yankees had been rumored to be interested in Jose Quintana – could they be the mystery team?
Remember when Andrew McCutchen was aggressively floated out in trade discussions for a few weeks surrounding Winter Meetings, and then the lines went silent? Could there have been another blockbuster deal that involved Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow that Bob Nutting (the Pittsburgh Pirates principal owner) just could not sign off on? And is that why the Pirates recently declared McCutchen will move to right field and stay in Pittsburgh?
The truth is anyone’s guess but it is certainly fun to speculate and read far into Hahn’s words searching for the slightest hint of what went haywire.
Over the past few days, we also learned that as far back as July of last season the White Sox front office trio had decided to move in a new direction. Despite a hot start, the South Siders slipped in the AL Central standings by mid-summer but Hahn reeled in his alacrity to make hasty trades and exercised patience. And boy, did it pay off.
There is certainly more theatrics in store over the ensuing season and copious amounts of second-guessing as well.