The organization announced Tuesday that the Chicago White Sox have relieved executive vice president Ken Williams and senior vice president and general manager Rick Hahn of their responsibilities, effective immediately.
“This is a very difficult decision for me because they are both talented people and have longstanding relationships with the White Sox,” White Sox president Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. “I personally want to thank Ken and Rick for everything they’ve done for the Chicago White Sox, winning the 2005 World Series and reaching the postseason several times during their tenure.”
According to a White Sox statement, Chicago will begin looking for “a single decision maker to lead its baseball operations division and expects to have an individual in his place by the end of the season.”
How surprising is that?
To say this was unexpected in Chicago would be an understatement. I would be a little surprised if Michael Jordan announced that he was coming out of retirement to play for the Bulls. This was announced an hour before the home game and after reporters had left the stadium and outside the club.
The White Sox have been sorely disappointing the past two seasons, and it makes sense to fire baseball officials, but you have to understand that Reinsdorf’s team rarely makes changes in the front office. So it makes no sense at the provincial level.
Williams has been the club’s senior baseball executive since 2001. Hahn was promoted to GM before the 2013 season. Reinsdorf’s making the move, at age 87, shows how frustrated he is with the direction his team has taken.
On Monday, one of the team’s media relations officials told The Beat writers that the USA Today story about internal meetings to find out the root causes of this organizational meltdown was misleading. They always hold meetings! Also Monday, Crain’s Chicago Business reported that Reinsdorf may want to construct a new stadium to replace the Guaranteed Price stadium and float a possible move to exit Chicago or the market.
To lead the game, the Sox lost 14-2 to fall to 49-76. And there is no longer anything to blame Tony La Russa.
After making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in franchise history in 2020 and 2021, the team has fallen to racing status as well. In 2022, the Sox went 81-81 but finished 11 games in the division. This year, they are one of the worst teams in baseball. They’re showing the biggest drop in attendance in a game to boot. Last year, fans were chanting “Sell the team!” Almost on a nightly basis.
Hahn executed a fire sale at the trade deadline and then had to defend himself when two of the players he traded, Kenan Middleton and, to a lesser extent, Lance Lane, publicly criticized the team.
That was only two weeks ago. Now it appears Reinsdorf may have agreed with the players, for once, not his executives. — Greenberg
Where does this leave the White Sox?
amazing. It’s a move the industry didn’t anticipate, not because Hann and Williams did so well, but because of the White Sox’ history under owner Reinsdorf and his loyalty to his employees. Indeed, the statement makes it clear that this was a painful step for Reinsdorf, though a necessary one. (You could argue that it’s overdue because the White Sox last won the World Series in 2005 and haven’t won a playoff series since.) If you’re betting, this is just the beginning of an exodus for an organization in dire need of change that has had player development issues, and signings with free agents and at the club, exacerbated when Middleton, a former reliever, exposed the team’s lack of accountability and direction. Williams has been with the Sox since 1992 while Hahn joined the Sox in 2002.
Who can lead the organization forward? Hopefully someone outside the organization has new ideas. The White Sox Way, which the organization proudly referred to for its indoor years during the championship period, has long since lost its appeal. — Ghiroli
(Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/USA Today)
“Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner.”