Rick Hahn likes dealing from strength. He also likes having the depth in his pitching staff that, should the season begin today, would make the Sox contenders in the American League Central.
A starting rotation of Chris Sale, Jake Peavy, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Jose Quintana lets him sleep at night. It also allows him to explore trades that could make his team better without one of them.
"We've been fairly popular because of our depth but we're not inclined to move any of that strength,'' Hahn said during Monday's conference call announcing the signing of free agent infielder Jeff Keppinger. "We'll continue to listen and explore options and should there be something that we feel is so strong we can not pass it up, we'll do it. But at this point we like our pitching staff, we like our rotation, how we match up against anybody one through five. And we like the strength in our bullpen. So it's really not something we are looking to do .. but if one of the alternatives makes us stronger we'll certainly pull the trigger on the right deal.''
The Royals, who were 12-6 against the Sox but not good enough against enough other teams to be a contender in the Central, traded top prospects to the Rays on Sunday for top-of-the-rotation starter James Shields and pitcher Wade Davis. It was a bold move that could prove to be costly down the road but very likely will help make the Royals contenders.
"You knew Kansas City was going to look to add to that offensive core they've had,'' Hahn said. "It wasn't a surprise to see them do it and they did it in a big way that makes them stronger. They picked up two very good arms in Shields and Davis. But Kansas City has played us tough the last couple years. We certainly aren't sleeping on them. It certainly will make the AL Central race more interesting.''