White Sox Changes Utilize Strengths

Williams, Hahn shift duties in front office





CHICAGO—As Ken Williams became more entrenched in his duties on the major league side as general manager, he felt he was being pulled away from the scouting and player development departments where he began his ascent as an executive.

So when it became increasingly obvious that assistant GM Rick Hahn could handle all facets of Williams' duties, Williams felt it was time to turn over the reins to Hahn while advancing to executive vice president.

"When I was the farm director (in 1997), I had a working knowledge of everything that was going on," Williams said. "And over time, because you get so consumed with the major league stuff, you start to lose that connection.

"So I suggested years ago that if we go back or go to a structure that takes advantage of everyone's strengths—my strength as a player development person, a scouting person and things of that ilk, and combine that with Rick's and Buddy (Bell's)—we'd be much more efficient. For various reasons we weren't able to go forward with that. But we all felt that this was the right time to do that, and here we are."

During Williams' tenure as GM, the Sox were notorious for acquiring marquee talent at the expense of some of their top prospects in an effort to compete for titles. But in recent years, the Sox have leaned more heavily on international and amateur talent with the signings of Cuban players Alexei Ramirez (2008) and Dayan Viciedo (2009) and homegrown players such as Gordon Beckham, Chris Sale, Addison Reed, Nate Jones and Hector Santiago.

Hahn, who joined the Sox shortly after Williams was promoted to GM in October of 2000 and has served as the Sox's chief negotiator, plans to follow that route.

"As for the (farm) system, certainly a great deal has been made, or at least was made 10-12 months ago, about the (low) national ranking systems of our (farm) system," Hahn said. "We don't tend to get too hung up on that."

Chi-lites

• Righthander Andre Rienzo planned to pitch for his native Brazil in a World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament.

• Infielder Carlos Sanchez, currently playing with Rienzo for Salt River in the Arizona Fall League, said he will play for La Guaira of the Venezuelan League after the AFL.