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3 Chicago White Sox takeaways from the GM meetings, including Rick Hahn facing a decision on whether to trade reliever Craig Kimbrel

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Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn met with reporters Tuesday on the first day of the general managers meetings at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa.

Here are three takeaways from Hahn’s media session.

1. The White Sox have a decision to make on reliever Craig Kimbrel.

The Sox exercised Kimbrel’s $16 million club option for 2022 on Saturday.

Now they have decisions to make.

“What we have to figure out is whether it makes the most sense to have Craig in a White Sox uniform going forward, or is there a better use of that spot and him perhaps via trade,” Hahn said. “I will say, in our conversations with Craig, he has been outstanding. He just wants to win and is willing to fulfill whatever role our club has in mind.

“Like us, he believes in what this club is capable of doing. It didn’t work out the way we wanted last year, so perhaps there is a better use of his skills than how we were doing it. So we have to reconsider his usage with us versus a potential trade.”

The Sox made a splash on July 30, acquiring the All-Star closer in a trade with the Cubs. But he wasn’t as effective while being used primarily as a setup man with the Sox, going 2-2 with a 5.09 ERA in 24 appearances after the trade.

“He’s on a Hall of Fame trajectory in the other role; he didn’t have success in the role we used him,” Hahn said. “It’s easy to make the assessment that if you put him back in the closer’s role, it’s what he’s accustomed to and he’s more likely to have success.

“The question for us is, with Liam (Hendriks) here, how do we get the best out of both of them. In the second year of that role, would it be more comfortable, for example. There is no clear-cut answer on Nov. 9. Those are all parts of the decision, the conversation.”

2. The White Sox aren’t ruling out Carlos Rodón returning.

The Sox decided not to extend a qualifying offer to the All-Star starter Sunday, but a reunion isn’t off the table.

“He knows that, (agent) Scott (Boras) knows that,” Hahn said. “We’ll see how his market unfolds and what the options are for us over the coming months.

“The decision to not extend the qualifying offer, let’s just say he was outstanding for us, and not offering the QO, that specific contract was not offered to him. Doesn’t mean we’re not interested in potentially finding a way to bring him back.”

Rodón went 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA and 185 strikeouts in 132⅔ innings. He pitched a no-hitter against Cleveland in April and earned his first All-Star selection.

Players receiving the qualifying offer have the option of accepting the one-year deal, reportedly for $18.4 million, or declining with draft pick compensation coming into play.

“Essentially, it’s a contract offer of $18.4 million for one (year),” Hahn said. “And we made the assessment based on everything we know, which includes our needs and our other targets, that that wasn’t an offer we were comfortable making at this time.”

3. The White Sox have a hole to fill at second base.

The Sox declined César Hernández’s $6 million club option Saturday.

Hernández slashed .232/.309/.299 with three home runs and 15 RBIs in 53 games after being traded to the Sox from Cleveland on July 29.

He didn’t start the first two games of the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros. He came off the bench in Game 2 and started the last two games. Leury García, who started the first two games, is a free agent.

“We have potential internal options in Danny Mendick and Romy Gonzalez,” Hahn said. “That said, we’re going to survey that market, trade or free agent, and see if there is a way to get better. We haven’t closed the door on perhaps bringing back César at some point.

“Leury got some starts down the stretch, he’s a free agent and we continue to have contact with (him) and we’ll see what the next couple weeks or months hold. There is an argument it’s an area we can get better with an everyday option, but we can put players like Gonzalez and Mendick in roles where we can move them around and have greater value.”

Gonzalez went 8-for-32 (.250) with three doubles and two RBIs in 10 games in 2021. Mendick slashed .220/.303/.287 with two home runs and 20 RBIs in 71 games.

The versatile García, who can play second, short, third and all three outfield positions, slashed .267/.335/.376 with five home runs and 54 RBIs in 126 games.

“We love Leury,” Hahn said. “His versatility, his availability has value. It will likely have value in the market to others as well. I think all teams are guilty of becoming a little bit biased in favor of their guys, whether it’s guys you drafted or guys like Leury who were with us for a long time.

“But we certainly see his value, and he played an important role on a team that was banged up last year. His ability to fill in competently at different spots was important.”

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