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Nov 3, 2022; Chicago, Il, USA; Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn introduces new manager Pedro Grifol during a press conference at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Much was expected of the Chicago White Sox going into the 2022 season. After winning the American League Central Division with a 93-69 record last year, they appeared to be entering their championship window.

The good vibes of 2021 disappeared as the White Sox struggled to find their footing early in the 2022 season. They were 46-46 at the All-Star break and ended up 81-81, leaving them to find answers for a failed campaign.

Questions about the club’s flaws and future fall at the feet of Rick Hahn, who enters his 11th season as White Sox general manager. His hiring of manager Tony La Russa in October 2020 was a surprise, and the result of the tenure left much to be desired with the team in a worse spot than when he arrived.

Hahn wants to rebuild trust with White Sox fans who expected a much better product than the one they saw in 2022. And after hiring Pedro Grifol to be the team’s new manager, the GM is looking to take additional steps of accountability.

“It's a combination of things,” Hahn told Bally Sports. “One, we have to own (our failures). I think we've done a decent job of expressing that publicly, and the hiring of Pedro reinforces some of what we said we needed to do. And that is look far outside the organization for fresh perspectives in a way that we would be able to sort of critically analyze who we were and how we get back to being a winning ballclub.

“Frankly, none of this really matters until we win ballgames and we deliver on that. But it is a little bit about setting the tone in our front office right now. People know that, yeah, we got a lot of faith in some of these guys being healthier, and some of these guys returning to the level of performance that they previously were. But we can't rest on that.”

It’s a big offseason for the White Sox, who have several holes to fill on their roster. One of them could be the leadership role of first baseman José Abreu, who is a free agent.

Also, the team’s core has not jelled like many expected. Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert have struggled to stay on the field since their arrival in Chicago, and catcher Yasmani Grandal, the highest-paid free agent in team history, has yet to play in 100 games in a season since signing a four-year, $73 million contract.

“We internally need to do everything in our power to get this roster better and improve it over time. And then we got to back that up with the actual acquisitions over the course of the next few months,” Hahn said. “We realized that most of this is talk until you start winning ballgames. But in the meantime, until we get to that opportunity to win some ballgames, we just have to back up our words with consistent action.”

During the White Sox’s rebuild, the mission was to set up the organization to win multiple championships with the belief that true contenders are able to sustain success over the long haul. Since Hahn took over as GM in October 2012, the team has reached the postseason twice and now stands at a crossroads with a crucial 2023 season ahead.

“You’ve got to set the bar high,” Hahn said. “That's how we set the bar. And should we ultimately fall short of it and be held accountable for that, that's OK. … A lot gets made of my comments during the (Bryce) Harper (and Manny) Machado free agency, where I talked about how we deserved a seat at the table. People have now turned that into a bit of a mocking thing when we don't sign somebody. So instead of sitting at the table, which is fine, we didn't convert on that. So we wear it.

“I think the message that this is an organization that is a potential destination for premium players is an important one. That's who we want to be. That's an organization we want to have. This is our aspiration. I'd rather aim high than manage expectations like, ‘Hey, we made it to the postseason consecutive years for the first time in franchise history — success.’

“No. It’s about rings.”

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