Listen: Northwestern vs. Maryland – also on 560 AM

Powell: The Rick’s Are Having Just As Much Fun as White Sox Fans; Other SoxFest Notes

White Sox fan showing support for general manager Rick Hahn. (Kevin Powell/WGN Radio)

By Kevin Powell

“He’s got 2020 lineups on the board,” Rick Hahn said to a standing room only crowd in the Continental Ballroom at the Hilton Chicago on day two of SoxFest. The White Sox general manager was referring to manager Rick Renteria’s tendency to play around with lineups for the rebuilding club.

“He does what all of you do,” panel moderator and play-by-play man Jason Benetti said.

And he’s right. Sox fans are dreaming of the days when guys like Moncada, Jimenez, and Robert are filling out the lineup on a day-to-day basis. The fans are playing fantasy general manger in their heads, but Renteria and Hahn are having just as much fun thinking of the days when this is no longer a rebuild.

“I get a game report (of the prospects) every single day,” Renteria said. “I have a board (in my office) of all the players’ names in the minor league system…I’m just planning.”

He’s planning for the future. He’s planning how he’ll maximize the incredible amount of talent Hahn has acquired over the past year and a half.

“We do keep tabs on every single guy in the system,” Renteria said.

And it’s a deep system. Probably the best in baseball.

For now, it does appear, or at least feel like, Renteria is the guy to manage the roster of the future. Is he a holdover until another managerial candidate emerges? I don’t think so. I’m really getting the sense that “The Rick’s” are a thing, and that Renteria is in it for the long haul.

Understandably, the excitement is growing. The opening panel Saturday morning featuring Hahn and Renteria was jam packed. Fans asked questions for about thirty minutes, and the event could have went on for hours.

So as you continue to have fun building your own lineups of the future, keep in mind that “The Rick’s” are doing the exact same thing.

NO TAMPERING

Rick Hahn was asked about the Manny Machado rumors that surfaced this offseason. He wouldn’t budge. Hahn said he didn’t want to get tagged with a tampering fine. But he also never said “no” when asked if conversations with the Orioles ever got serious.

Hahn was then asked about the crowded outfield of the Brewers since they traded for Christian Yelich and signed Lorenzo Cain. Again, Hahn dodged the question, citing tampering rules.

FANS ARE ALL IN

“It feels like the franchise is in great hands,” Lee from Chicago said. “What Rick has done here is incredibly impressive….we can’t wait. We’re excited for April.”

This is a different feeling among Sox fans right now. For so many years it felt like the Sox were just patching the big league team together. Now, there’s a real depth to the franchise with a strong pool of talent in the farm system.

“I’m very excited,” Mark from Hawthorne Woods said. “For a White Sox fan, this is pretty new. We have a legacy of bringing on players that many people would view as past their prime…the model now is to build from scratch.”

Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720