In what was rumored about a month ago, Kenny Williams has been promoted to be the team’s Executive Vice President, while Rick Hahn will take over Williams’ vacated role and be the team’s new G.M.
On the surface, many Sox fans may be confused about this move and ask why team owner Jerry Reinsdorf would make this decision after Williams had a great year making personnel decisions. However, Hahn has been one of the most sought after front office assistants when it comes to general manager candidates, ranked by magazines like Sports Illustrated as the league’s top candidate and second on MLBTR’s list. The odds are that Hahn was probably going to land a G.M. job either this or next off-season, so promoting him and Williams allowed the Sox to keep the Williams-Hahn pair together.
Williams’ career as White Sox G.M. has been well documented: winning a World Series, two division titles, and just three losing seasons in his twelve year tenure, which was the sixth-longest for current MLB general managers. However, what Williams and Reinsdorf remain adamant about is that Hahn has been just as instrumental to the team’s success as Williams himself, basically viewing him as a right-hand man in personnel decisions.
With all of that said, could we see a change in philosophy? According to Reinsdorf, Williams will still “maintain oversight and final approval on major baseball decisions,” and that Hahn will focus more on the short-term issues with the team, allowing Williams to focus more on the long-term planning. An ESPN article also said Williams will have some new responsibilities, such as figuring out a way to raise fan interest and put more fans in the seats.
While all of that could be true, no one knows for sure how this impacts how the team will make personnel decisions moving forward. We know that K.W. has always had that “go-getter” mentality when it comes to decision making, but will Hahn be the same way? Unless you have had a seat in organizational meetings, no one knows what Hahn’s responsibilities were before this move. Did he already have a lot of the responsibilities he is going to have and now just has the title to go with it, or was he really just second-fiddle to K.W.? Will he still be?
The good news for Sox fans is that we won’t have to wait long to find out, with free agency opening just six days after the World Series.