NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Rick Hahn would not address Wednesday's news of a three-year, $12-million deal agreed upon between the White Sox and infielder Jeff Keppinger until the deal was finalized.
The White Sox general manager did speak to the qualities sought by the team in a new third baseman, a position that was next on their list of priorities after agreeing to a two-year, $29-million extension with right-handed pitcher Jake Peavy in late October.
Offensive diversity sits at the top of that particular list, especially for a team that manager Robin Ventura mentioned Tuesday needed to get better at bringing in runners from third with less than two outs and situational hitting overall.
"A number of things and I'm not sure any one player would address all those things," said Hahn of the third base search. "But one of the themes we've hit on this offseason is trying to diversify the offense a little bit, have some players that can put the ball in play a little more, get on base at a little higher clip perhaps, as well as the defense being important.
"It's always something we're cognizant of, but especially in a situation where we may have at least three left-handed starters, you're going to want to be pretty strong on the left side of your infield defensively, at least on the days that those guys start. Those were and are some of the items we have on our check list when we started looking at third base acquisitions."
Adding Tyler Flowers into the mix at catcher will increase the power potential for a lineup that hit 211 homers last season. It also will increase its strikeout rate.
Keppinger fanned just 31 times over 418 plate appearances for the Rays in 2012. He also has the infield versatility that became a priority for the White Sox.
"That is absolutely a priority," Hahn said. "We want to give Robin more opportunities to play matchups with his lineups both offensively as well as defensively and more ability to put guys in a position to succeed based on who is starting that day for us or for them. So certainly position versatility never hurts especially when a guy is capable of playing quality defense at multiple positions."