Of all the candidates interviewing for the Mets GM position this week, the one with the largest gap between reputation and what we actually know about him is almost certainly White Sox assistant general manager Rick Hahn. We know Baseball America had him ranked as the #1 GM prospect in baseball earlier this year (link is here, but it's behind their pay wall so you'll have to take my word for it). Baseball Prospectus ran a similar list two years ago that ranked Hahn #3 overall behind Red Sox assistant GM Jed Hoyer and now-Mariners-GM Jack Zduriencik. We think Hahn might be into sabermetrics but we're not really sure.
That's about all I knew about him before I started poking around a bit. I've managed to cobble together some other bits of information, mainly from this interview and a conversation with South Side Sox, and dare I say we're beginning to see the rudiments of a GM profile!
- Hahn grew up a Cubs fan and graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois.
- As a 12-year-old he would send letters to Cubs GM Dallas Green with trade proposals. Green would occasionally write back.
- He holds degrees from the University of Michigan, Harvard Law School, and Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
- At Kellogg he studied things like "finance, statistical analysis, regression analysis, [and] accounting methods", which he thought would be useful tools to have when he eventually joined a big league front office.
- While still at Kellogg, Hahn took a position with the sports agency Steinberg, Moorad & Dunn, the firm of superagent Jeff Moorad (who now owns parts of the Padres and Diamondbacks). Hahn's time there would provide him valuable experience he would later use while negotiating player contracts from the other side of the table.
- He left Moorad's agency in 2000 and was hired shortly thereafter as an assistant to newly-appointed White Sox GM Kenny Williams (who was previously the team's farm director).
- He was a candidate for the Cardinals GM job after the 2007 season but withdrew his name before John Mozeliak got the job.
- He declined to meet with the Pirates regarding their GM vacancy in September 2007. That job went to Neal Huntington.
- Hahn was not given permission to interview with the Mariners following the 2008 season for the GM position that eventually went to Jack Z.
- He has negotiated a half-billion dollars worth of contracts for the White Sox, including those of Paul Konerko and Mark Buehrle.
- In discussing Gavin Floyd's slow start in 2009 (and most years), Hahn cited Floyd's FIP and how it was lower than his ERA as a rationale for not worrying needlessly (ed. note: this was relayed to me anecdotally by The Cheat at South Side Sox).
It's difficult to know what kind of GM a guy will be if he's never truly had the opportunity to flex his muscles in that capacity, but Hahn's diverse experiences in business school (studying regression analysis), player representation, and contract negotiation suggest a well-rounded candidate who works well with others and seems open to the (potentially) bright ideas of the people who surround him. It appears that Hahn is being groomed to replace Kenny Williams sooner rather than later, so if he doesn't get a chance to run the show with the Mets then the opportunity to do so with the White Sox could be right around the corner.