Rick Hahn referred to himself as a ‘jackass' as Fernando Tatis Jr. came up again at SoxFest


The White Sox farm system is undoubtedly loaded.

Rick Hahn pulled off three big trades in 2016 and 2017 to import Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease, Reynaldo Lopez, Yoan Moncada, Dane Dunning, Luis Basabe and Lucas Giolito into the organization. Add the other talent acquired through the draft or international signings, and there are few better systems in the game.

So why did the White Sox general manager refer to himself as a "jackass" on Saturday?

In what seems to be an annual tradition now at SoxFest, there was mention of Fernando Tatis Jr., one of the highest-rated prospects in baseball and a one-time White Sox signee who was traded to the San Diego Padres in the deal for James Shields just months before the start of the rebuild.

It's arguably the lone mistake Hahn & Co. have made during this rebuilding process (and it technically took place before the process started), with Tatis closing in on the majors and widely regarded as one of the best young talents around. Tatis was just 17 years old when the White Sox made the deal and had yet to play a minor league game. But that hasn't been much of an excuse in the minds of White Sox fans, who in an alternate reality could've seen Tatis and Eloy Jimenez sharing spots at the top of the prospect rankings.

Last year, a fan lobbed a question toward members of the front office during a panel Hahn wasn't a part of: "How could you whiff on him?" This year, Hahn took the initiative himself.

While praising the organization's success in the international-signing department, Hahn was listing the achievements of the department run by Marco Paddy and eventually got to Tatis, offering up a self-critique in the process.

"Since we’ve hired Marco Paddy and the staff he’s put together internationally, we’ve been as strong as anybody," Hahn said. "Signing Luis Robert, which was an example of us being strong internationally, did put us in the penalty box for a couple years, and we had to use some of that slot money in different ways to add talent. But his first signing was Micker Adolfo, who’s becoming one of the better prospects in the organization.

"He also signed someone that some jackass traded, a pretty good prospect by the name of Tatis."

Ouch. Self burn.

Hahn was likely poking fun at the social-media criticism he receives for making the move as much as he was perhaps admitting any regret at dealing away a guy who turned into a top prospect.

Of course, what shouldn't be lost in all that is that the White Sox have a pair of international signees in the system who figure to one day be a part of the outfield of the future. Nor should it be forgotten that Hahn has made a bevy of moves that have loaded the system and made the future extremely bright.

But if Tatis blossoms into an All-Star shortstop with the Padres, then he'll always be the one who got away.

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