GM: White Sox in no rush to deal Chris Sale despite intent to rebuild

ByJesse Rogers ESPN logo
Tuesday, December 6, 2016

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is a popular executive at the winter meetings as he continues to discuss his plans to rebuild the team by selling off its best parts -- including ace Chris Sale.

But Hahn won't budge from his asking price, at least not publicly.

"When you have negotiations with other clubs about potential trade fits, you have to have that line you aren't going to go below; otherwise you're compromising too much in terms of value," Hahn said Monday afternoon.

In other words, whatever the White Sox were asking for back in July in exchange for their top players hasn't changed despite a sense of urgency to get the rebuild going. Names of players might be different but the overall talent haul they're looking for is the same. Despite the desire to overhaul the roster quickly, Hahn isn't putting a timeline on any moves.

"I don't view that as necessary," he said. "What we're looking to do is put ourselves in the position for extended success. We do that by acquiring as much impact talent as we can over an extended period. ... It's not something that's necessarily going to happen overnight."

Which means Sale might still be a member of the White Sox come Thursday when the meetings end. And perhaps he plays the first half for the team before they revisit a trade.

Several teams that have interest in Sale were surveyed by ESPN's Jayson Stark, and the consensus was they'd be surprised if a Sale deal gets done at these meetings.

Hahn stressed not one player has to be the domino to enact their plan.

"You don't want to be caught in between, but we're not [going] to force seven things to get done, or else it's not worth doing one," Hahn said. "It's a process."

That process will go on for a while as the Sox continue to evaluate the return they might receive. Hahn said the front office was energized by the strategy, though it may be painful trading good players such as a dominant lefty starter. And he refuted reports that claimed the Sox may have doubts about Sale's long-term health.

"You've seen what this guy has done over the years," Hahn said to reporters. "We realize this is an elite-level talent. A rare commodity in this league."

So the meetings will continue until the Sox like what they hear or until they lower their asking price. Neither seemed imminent, but that can change at any moment.

"These players fit on all 30 teams," Hahn said. "We've had a number of conversations on a number of different fronts. All you have to do is type 'White Sox' into Twitter and you can see all sorts of interesting ideas being floated about, some of which are more accurate than others. We're approaching this with a wide-open frame of mind.

"You want to do a deal everyone benefits from. I don't think there is any added benefit feeling like we did really well and the other club comes out looking bad."

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