The Chicago White Sox announced on Tuesday that they have fired executive vice president Kenny Williams and general manager Rick Hahn, effective immediately. The move comes amid a disappointing season for the White Sox, who are currently 49-76 and last in the American League Central division.
Williams and Hahn oversaw White Sox’s only title in 106 years
Williams and Hahn had been with the White Sox organization for a long time, with Williams joining as a scout in 1992 and Hahn as an assistant GM in 2000. Williams became the GM in 2000 and led the team to its only World Series title in 106 years in 2005, when the White Sox swept the Houston Astros in four games. He was promoted to executive VP in 2012 and handed over the GM duties to Hahn, who had been his right-hand man for 12 years.
The duo had some success in building a competitive team, reaching the playoffs in 2008 and 2020, but also endured many losing seasons and failed to capitalize on the talent they acquired. The White Sox embarked on a rebuild in 2016, trading away stars like Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Adam Eaton and Todd Frazier for prospects. However, the rebuild did not yield the desired results, as the White Sox struggled to develop their young players and suffered from injuries, underperformance and clubhouse issues.
Reinsdorf calls decision ‘incredibly difficult’
White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who is known for his loyalty to his employees, said in a statement that the decision to fire Williams and Hahn was “incredibly difficult” and that he thanked them for their contributions to the franchise.
“Ken is like a son to me, and I will always consider him a member of my family,” Reinsdorf said. “I want to personally thank Ken and Rick for all they have done for the White Sox, winning the 2005 World Series and reaching the playoffs multiple times during their tenures.”
Reinsdorf also said that he will begin a search for a single decision-maker to lead the baseball-operations department and that he expects to have someone in place by the end of the season. He said that assistant GMs Chris Getz and Jeremy Haber will assume GM duties in the interim and that Getz will be a candidate for the permanent position.
White Sox face uncertain future
The White Sox’s future is unclear, as they have a roster that is a mix of aging veterans, unproven youngsters and injury-prone stars. They also have a manager, Pedro Grifol, who was hired this offseason after Hall of Famer Tony La Russa stepped down due to health problems. Grifol has not been able to turn around the team’s fortunes and has faced criticism for his handling of the pitching staff and the lineup.
The White Sox also have to deal with rumors of relocation, as owner Reinsdorf is reportedly considering moving the team after their lease at Guaranteed Rate Field expires after 2029. Reinsdorf has been unhappy with the attendance and revenue at the ballpark, which is located in a low-income area of Chicago’s South Side. He has been eyeing potential sites in other cities, such as Las Vegas, Nashville or Charlotte.
The White Sox fans, who have endured many years of frustration and mediocrity, are hoping that the front office shakeup will lead to a new direction and a return to glory for their beloved team.