LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After each of the three moves the Chicago White Sox made at baseball's winter meetings this week, general manager Rick Hahn voiced his satisfaction with the transaction -- and then promptly noted the team that lost 99 games in 2013 still has more work to do to retool.
So when will the improvement project be finished?
"Once there is a parade," Hahn said. "Then we'll get going on the next one."
The Sox signed right-hander Felipe Paulino to a one-year deal, acquired outfielder Adam Eaton in a three-team trade and Thursday selected catcher Adrian Nieto from the Nationals system with the second pick in the Rule 5 draft. Nieto, a 24-year-old switch-hitter who was born in Cuba, must remain on the Sox's major league roster all of the 2014 season or the Sox must offer him back to the Nationals for $25,000. They paid $50,000 to acquire him.
"We added some depth and some competition and got a guy (Eaton) who is very high on our target list," Hahn said before departing the meetings. "We definitely feel good about this week. It's important for us to go out next week and have another good week. And another good one after that. We feel good about where we are, but a lot of work ahead."
In Nieto, who was fifth-round selection in the 2008 draft out of American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla., the Sox added competition to a catching situation that could use it. The Sox have voiced disappointment about the offensive performances of catchers Tyler Flowers and Josh Phegley in 2013 and said they were searching for potential upgrades. They re-signed Flowers to a one-year, $950,000 contract Dec. 2.
But Hahn indicated the acquisition of Nieto, who hasn't played above high Class A, doesn't preclude the Sox from looking at other catchers.
"It doesn't mean by any means we are done in terms of our search for potential upgrades," Hahn said. "This is another avenue to try to bring in some talent."
The 6-foot, 200-pound Nieto batted .285 with a .373 on-base percentage, 68 runs, 53 RBIs and 11 home runs in 110 games this season for high Class A Potomac. He also played in this year's Arizona Fall League, hitting .271 with six RBIs in 13 games, and was selected to the league's Fall Stars game. He served a 50-game suspension in 2011 for testing positive for banned substances.
"Nieto is a switch-hitter, solid defensive skills, plus arm, some pop and some good plate discipline," Hahn said. "Anytime you take a guy in Rule 5, you are rushing his development a little bit, so it's a longer shot of it working out, but this kid made some real nice strides in 2013 in terms of development. We figure bring him in and give him the shot and have some competition."
In the minor league portion of Thursday's draft, the Sox selected left-handed reliever Evan Crawford from the Blue Jays system and catcher Omar Narvaez from the Rays system. The Sox lost outfielder Brady Shoemaker to the Marlins.
Along with a catcher, the Sox likely still are searching for options at third base and left-handed relief and will consider dealing outfielders Alejandro De Aza or Dayan Viciedo after acquiring Eaton.
"I'm not counting on anything in the coming days, but we did have some real good dialogue and made some progress on a couple of different fronts," Hahn said. "We'll see if any of them bear fruit."
(c)2013 Chicago Tribune
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services