CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn already had his poker face on display Monday, saying he doesn’t expect there to be any issues in negotiating a contract with first-round draft pick Carlos Rodon.
Negotiating a Rodon deal has been a hot topic because the left-handed pitcher out of North Carolina State is being represented by agent Scott Boras.
When executive vice president Kenny Williams was in the general manager’s chair, the White Sox didn’t have too many dealings with Boras, known for a shrewd style of business that yields top-dollar contracts for his clients.
So does Hahn see any potential stumbling blocks ahead in dealing with Boras?
“I tend to be an optimistic guy,” Hahn said Monday. “I never anticipate problems. Look, in reality, we have a history with Scott, a positive history with Scott. He had Joe Crede, he’s got [Dayan] Viciedo, we had Andruw Jones here. A fair amount of this concern, or discussion on how this could be difficult, I think is unnecessary and really not significant to us determining what’s going to happen here.”
With a deadline for signing picks set at July 18, the White Sox will get some answers soon. The assigned value of the third overall selection in the draft is $5.72 million, but indications are that Boras could negotiate for more than that. A main Boras negotiating point could be that Rodon is expected to reach the major leagues sooner than most, if not all, players selected last week.
Assuming a deal gets worked out, the question of interest then becomes how soon Rodon can reach the major leagues and help the big league team.
In 2010, Chris Sale was in the major leagues two months after he was selected with the White Sox’s first-round pick (13th overall). So now that Chicago has another college left-hander with a plus slider in Rodon, what kind of timetable can be expected?
“I understand the comparisons, but until we get the player on campus and in our system and understand truly where he’s at and how he’s feeling, how quickly he is to take to the professional lifestyle, I don’t think it’s fair to put any time frame on his arrival,” Hahn said.
There isn’t any shame in not exactly being considered at the same level as Sale. If Rodon eventually slides into the rotation as a stead No. 2 or No. 3 starter, the White Sox will consider this draft a rousing success.
“You don’t see that too often, a player [like Sale] making his major league debut the same year he was drafted, much less having an impact and going on with his career without ever returning to the minors,” Hahn said. “That’s pretty atypical, but if there was one player in this draft that potentially had the ability to do that, it would probably be Carlos Rodon.”