The long-awaited transition of the White Sox’s front office will be announced Friday when Ken Williams is promoted to overseeing the baseball operations department, with assistant general manager Rick Hahn elevated to Williams’ GM duties.
A major league source confirmed the moves shortly after the team announced a news conference was scheduled for Friday. The elevation of Williams and promotion of Hahn had been anticipated as early as 2008 — after the Sox’s last American League Central title.
The transitions will complete a 13-year run as GM for Williams, 48, who constructed the Sox’s 2005 World Series title team — their lone world title since 1917. As head of baseball operations, he will retain his title as a senior vice president.
At the end of the 2012 season, Williams spoke of the team’s challenge to attract more fans to U.S. Cellular Field, and he’s expected to provide input outside of the baseball department.
The promotion of Hahn, 41, completes five years of his candidacies as a GM in baseball circles. He either has interviewed, turned down interviews or been denied the chance to interview for GM positions with the Pirates Cardinals, Mariners, Mets and Angels.
Hahn, a New Trier High School graduate, is highly respected throughout the organization and throughout Major League Baseball because of his communication and negotiating skills. Hahn has negotiated the Sox’s largest contracts since joining the organization shortly after Williams took over as GM in October 2000, and the Sox haven’t had an arbitration hearing since 2001.
Hahn immediately will be faced with handling several tough free agent decisions involving pitcher Jake Peavy, third baseman Kevin Youkilis and catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
Although Hahn has a strong background as a negotiator, Williams has sent him on scouting missions for the past few years. In addition, Hahn is well-respected by the Sox’s player development department, including the professional and amateur scouts.
It’s uncertain whether Hahn will relinquish the bulk of his contract duties, although he has delegated some of the smaller negotiations in recent years to Dan Fabian, the Sox’s senior director of baseball operations, and Daniel Zien, Fabian’s assistant.