Ventura talks improving defense, exciting players

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The question concerning Robin Ventura's contractual status brought an audible sigh from White Sox general manager Rick Hahn.

Hahn has so much to deal with in regard to reshaping a 99-loss team from 2013 that even after adding center fielder and leadoff hitter Adam Eaton from Arizona in a three-team deal Tuesday, Ventura being in the last year of a three-year deal doesn't exactly stand front and center in his mind.

"That contract stuff is so far removed from anybody's mind right now," Hahn said. "Both Robin and I are committed for doing this as long as possible.

"We are on the same page in terms of where we want to go and what needs to be done in order to get there. Frankly, at the end of the day, all the contract really means is that if one of us were let go, how long we would continue to receive money.

"It won't dictate the length of anyone's contract, mine included. It won't dictate how long we are in the position," Hahn said. "It's going to be based on performance and desire and [team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf's] and [executive vice president Ken Williams'] wishes. The contract status is pretty much irrelevant from my point of view."

Ventura also spoke about his contract Tuesday at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort. He turned down a one-year extension prior to the 2013 campaign, but doesn't look at it as an opportunity missed.

His pay-no-current-mind approach is very close to that of Hahn

"Again, I enjoy doing what I'm doing, I love who I work for. I'm just getting ready for the season," Ventura said. "And whatever happens from here on happens. But I'm happy with what I do. I would like to keep doing it, but again, that will be for later.

"If for some reason Rick wants somebody else to do this, then he's going to have somebody else do this. That's just the way it works."

As for Ventura being on the proverbial hot seat after last year's struggles, Hahn laughed at the notion.

'Dirtbag' Eaton brings energy to South Side

White Sox pick up versatile Eaton in three-team trade

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- How did Adam Eaton find out about his move from Arizona to the White Sox on Tuesday as part of three-team team deal also involving the Angels and sending left-handed starter Hector Santiago from Chicago to Anaheim? He simply followed the media's updates on Twitter.

"Twitter has been the main culprit," Eaton told MLB.com during a phone interview from his Ohio home. "I woke up at 8 or 9, and you start hearing some tweets toward me. You hear talk. At 10 or 11 o'clock, it builds up a little bit. By 12 or 1 Eastern Time, it's in full swing."

In the 5-foot-8, 185-pound Eaton, the White Sox added balance to their lineup from the left side and an addition of speed at the top of their order. They also have a solid defensive player with a plus arm in center. Then there's the dirtbag mentality, which was how general manager Rick Hahn described Eaton on Tuesday.

It was an edge missing from the '13 White Sox clubhouse, as talked about by bench coach Mark Parent near the end of the season. It's an edge and depiction Eaton happily embraces.

"That's a high compliment to be a dirtbag," Eaton said. "I'm kind of a pain in the butt, a grinder. A guy who will get after it day in and day out, bring energy to the team.

"I thrive on energy. I break up a double play and see the fire in the guys and they feed off that. ... I'm high energy and trying to help our team score as many runs or win as many games as possible."

Eaton grew up an Indians fan in Ohio but is very familiar with the White Sox from watching American League Central baseball.

"I'm excited to be back in the Midwest," said Eaton, who has a college teammate from Miami of Ohio who lives in Chicago. "My mom and dad are five hours away and my in-laws are just four."

Towers unable to pry Sale away in deal

Hahn on Chris Sale trade rumors, Winter Meetings

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Arizona's Kevin Towers, the Angels' Jerry Dipoto and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn all seemed satisfied with the three-team trade announced on Tuesday.

But during a news conference at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort, Towers joked about another coveted White Sox player he was targeting.

"Actually, Rick and I have been discussing [Adam Eaton] for some time, probably over the last month," Towars said. "He just needed to know if he had a direct fit at the time.

"If we would have talked about Mr. [Chris Sale], I imagine we might have been doing something directly. But I still can't get him to budge there."

Sale, the ace of the White Sox staff, and No. 2 starter Jose Quintana would take quite a haul to pry loose from the White Sox.

Higher Draft, international spending offset payroll drop

Executive VP Williams talks White Sox offseason

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The White Sox payroll drop from $112 million in 2013 to somewhere in the $80 million range in 2014 was explained in greater detail by general manager Rick Hahn on Tuesday.

"One, the overall expenditures by our department may not drop significantly, in part because we will be spending in excess of $10 million on the [First-Year Player] Draft, which is a huge step up," Hahn said. "We're going to be spending in the vicinity of $5 million internationally, which again is a big step up over where we were. While it may not necessarily be on the big league field, the money is still going out the doors to improving us player wise.

"Additionally, it was an underperforming year for us on the field, and that was reflected at the gate last year. It's going to be a tick down from where we were last year. [White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf] has always run it that what comes in goes back on the field and if a little bit less comes in, then a little bit less goes out."

Given that the White Sox are trying to get younger, a little bit more affordability comes with the change.

"We don't think that even a modest decrease in the total expenditures on the baseball side is necessarily going to hurt our competiveness," Hahn said. "It is somewhat consistent with trying to get younger."