(CBS) White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has left no doubt where the credit should go for an offseason rebuild that includes the additions of right-hander Jeff Samardzija, closer David Robertson and outfielder Melky Cabrera.
It all starts and ends with owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who late Saturday night green-lighted the signing of Cabrera to a three-year, $42-million deal even after the White Sox had allocated all of the money they'd originally planned on using in free agency.
"Jerry's aggressive," Hahn said Tuesday at a press conference to introduce Samardzija, Robertson and Cabrera. "Jerry saw how it fit. Jerry understood this was an important piece to help bring the lineup together and set us up in a more productive way than we were situated.
"Jerry smelled it, and he wanted to get it done.
"None of this happens -- the three acquisitions we're discussing today and (Adam) LaRoche and (Zach) Duke and other moves we've made -- without the aggressiveness of Jerry Reinsdorf. He sets the tone at the top of the organization.
"It was Jerry who each time we spoke in between the general manager meetings (in early November) asked me where we were in terms of Oakland conversations in order to acquire Jeff. And it was Jerry late Saturday evening who despite us stretching well beyond where we expected to go to a payroll standpoint for 2015, he said, 'Let's go for it and get Melky done.'"
The White Sox's payroll for 2015 is now around $110 million, which is about $20 million more than last season.
Hahn added that the response of White Sox fans this offseason also played a large role in giving Reinsdorf and management the confidence that their path would prove fruitful.
"The second factor, I think, and what probably made Jerry more comfortable is response of White Sox fans over the last week-plus to these moves," Hahn said. "There's been the palpable buzz around the city and that's translated from a sales standpoint in a positive way. It gave Jerry and us the confidence that we were going to be able to stretch to a payroll level that we didn't think was possible as we entered the offseason."
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