After a whirlwind 12 hours that included the White Sox acquiring Lance Lynn from the Texas Rangers late Monday night in exchange for Dane Dunning and Avery Weems and the club bringing back outfielder Adam Eaton on Tuesday afternoon, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon about the moves.
Here are some key takeaways from that media availability.
Lance Lynn solidifies the White Sox rotation
It was no secret after the albatross that was Game 3 of the Wild Card Series defeat in Oakland a couple of months ago that pitching was priority number one for this White Sox club, and Rick Hahn again confirmed that on Tuesday afternoon in his opening statements to reporters.
“We wanted to make sure we were able to acquire someone this offseason that we felt confident could not only fit into the front end of our rotation, but it was going to be ideally reliable every fifth day to give us some depth, and give us some length in his outings.”
“Obviously, those who have followed him know how dominant Lance has been over the last couple of seasons with Texas. Some of that transition occurred towards the end of the 2018 season when he was acquired by the Yankees, and since that point, he’s been, one of the better pictures in all of baseball,” said Hahn. “We feel he provides us not only, another alternative at the front of the rotation, but a positive clubhouse presence in someone that we look forward to relying on not only over the course of the regular season but hopefully deepen to October as well.”
Lance Lynn give the White Sox a workhorse starting pitcher who can save the bullpen from the workload that they were saddled with for much of the 2020 season when Sox starters routinely failed to pitch beyond the fifth inning, something that Hahn made mention when discussing his thoughts on Dunning heading to Texas in the Lynn deal.
“The reality is is that you know, Dane Dunning in 2021 is going to probably have to be a little bit limited in terms of his ability to give you the number of innings that a guy like Lance Lynn could.”
Thoughts on Dane Dunning’s departure in the Lance Lynn trade
Four years ago the White Sox acquired Dane Dunning as part of a deal that sent Adam Eaton to Washington in exchange for Dunning, Lucas Giolito, and Reynaldo Lopez. That deal, and the trade of Chris Sale to Boston that same week, was the beginning of a new chapter in White Sox baseball.
So, naturally, it’s tough to see one of those prospects be traded here today when the team is seemingly on the verge of seeing the fruits of their labor over the past four years pay off.
Dunning made his debut with the major league team this season and even started a playoff game for the White Sox, just as many drew it up back in December of 2016 when this process began. But, as Rick Hahn articulated in his comments today, “you have to give up something to get something, and it’s painful to move a guy who we believe in, in terms of his future in Dane, but as a tremendous person too, that’s difficult.”
“Specifically with Dane, it’s never easy to give up a young guy who, obviously has been part of this rebuild process who I believe coincidentally was acquired about four years ago to the date, that the day he was actually traded, shows, you know, in some, some interesting way, perhaps only to me, just where this rebuild has come over the course of those four years, that we start off by moving premium pieces to acquire multiple guys and hope they grow into championship-caliber players or alternatively, guys that we can move to acquire such players.”
“I think, you know, one part or one element of this deal for Lynn sort of shows the growth of where this process has taken us,” Hahn said. “We’re now in that stage, the perhaps most exciting stage, of being ready to contend for championships.”
Not done quite yet?
Even with the acquisitions of Lance Lynn and Adam Eaton filling two of their chief concerns coming into this winter, the White Sox still have other areas to address before they wrap up their spending this offseason. The back-end of the bullpen, additional starting rotation depth, and the designated hitter position remaining areas of concern.
“There’s always something else we can do,” Hahn said. “Before I wandered down here I was on the phone with Kenny [Williams] discussing the next move,”
“We feel real good about the pitching staff, where it sits right now,” Hahn said. “We like the young in arms we have but we’re going to keep at it in the market and see if something presents itself either via trade or free agency over the next few weeks.”
Still, as it stands today, Hahn is excited about the way the 2021 starting rotation is shaping up, and again confirmed the club’s faith in young pitchers like Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech, and Reynaldo Lopez moving forward.
“We’re in good shape with the front three [in the rotation], we feel like, and we have high hopes, obviously for Dylan Cease to continue to develop and look forward to him working with Ethan [Katz],” Hahn said. “Michael Kopech coming back will be a nice shot in the arm and Reynaldo Lopez still has a world of talent. That said, whether it’s over the course of the next few weeks or over the course of the summer, we’ll still be on the lookout for possible ways to improve the pitching staff.”
Vote of confidence for Dylan Cease
When asked by Scott Merkin of MLB.com about the confidence in Dylan Cease after the young right-hander struggled to harness the ability to throw strikes consistently again in 2020, Hahn made it clear that he and the organization still have plenty of faith in Cease.
“I think he’s made maybe 24 career starts and 24-ish-years-old. Uh, he’s still very young,” Hahn said about Cease. “We’ve all seen the flashes of what his stuff is capable of doing when it’s all aligned, and quite frankly, I’m excited to see him after a period of time working with Ethan Katz, and seeing where that leads us.
“The kid’s got a great arsenal. If we were so inclined to put them out there [on the trade market], he’d be a very popular trade target because the industry sees very similar to what we see. We look forward to him developing here over the coming months and years,”
A resounding vote of confidence from Hahn on Dylan Cease and where the organization sees him moving forward. I guess we can forget about him being involved in a swap for a veteran pitcher this winter.
Featured Photo: Jonathan Daniel | Credit: Getty Images
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