As far as Konerko is concerned, money is not the sole factor in this next phase of his career.
“It’s about the game,” Konerko said. “It’s not so much about the contract or the years or the money. It could be that I get more here and don’t come back. You know, I got a family to think about. I got, you know, how do I fit in on a team?
“There’s a lot of things that go into it. It’s not about I’ve made a lot of money in this game, and it’s not all about that. At the same time, when it gets to those situations, it’s always been that the player has to take the discount, never the team going above to get him back. You see it from all angles.
“Just to say I’ll take a discount, I would never say anything like that. And I’m telling you it could be a better deal than anyone else’s and I decide to go somewhere else because of what I’m feeling for myself and everybody involved in that moment. That’s the honest truth.”
Merkin also says that:
That last free-agent agreement for Konerko worked out to $60 million over five years. He certainly held up his end of the bargain and then some during that time, serving as the pragmatic conscience of manager Ozzie Guillen both on the field and in the clubhouse.
Konerko, who homered against Pavano his next time up, said he did not believe the pitch was intentional, but he did appreciate teammate Mark Buehrle hitting Twins’ first baseman Michael Cuddyer later.
“I don’t need to see Mark do that to know he protects his guys,” said Konerko, whose swollen upper lid still made it difficult to talk Friday. “He’s the one guy over the years that not only will go out and do it, but gets it done.”
“I will say this: In my 10 years in this chair, I’ve never had a free agent to be, especially one that has had the past success and the present year success that he’s had, handled it in such a graceful, classy, professional way. I had to make a statement earlier this year that I don’t know where we’re going to end up, where our revenues are, where our payroll is headed in relation to all the other things we have to do, so we can’t engage in any talks for extensions for anyone.
“He has respected that and been a prince about that. And he’s had every right to question and ask what’s his future. If that question were to be asked, I’d have to say ‘I don’t know.’ All the numbers and projections aren’t in. I’ll get a payroll number at some point in November, I’d imagine. And then we’d have to see how the team fits as a whole, and he’s been here long enough to know we’ve never valued one individual piece more than the team as a whole. If you do that, you can start the spiral that will take you a decade to recover from.
“Now I said that to say this: He is valued on that field, on the bench, on the clubhouse, on the bus, in the hotel, and has just been selfless and one of the best guys you can have around here for a long time, so these are the type guys you would like to finish their careers here.
“He’s a guy we need to have back, for sure,” said Beckham. “This team, he is our leader, he’s had a great year. He deserves to be back here and paid the right way.”
… “If he leaves, then you have people that have to fill his spot,” Beckham said. “I don’t know if anyone here is ready for that. You have to think we need him back for the sole purpose of having a guy around who knows the game and is real cerebral about the game. He’s that guy.”
“I would love to have him retire as a White Sox. That’s pretty much all I’m going to say on it, because I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know how we are going to finish. We are driven by the revenue stream that comes in. People might not like it but it is what it is. We have to at least be able to be a break-even operation, and try to win at the same time.”
Asked if Tony Gwynn or Ichiro Suzuki came to the White Sox with long hair, Williams amended that statement saying that anybody with Hall of Fame credentials can take some liberties with the team’s appearance standards. He added that Paul Konerko could grow a Mohawk andhe wouldn’t have an issue with it.
Paul Konerko and Manny Ramirez are also on track to be Type-As. Konerko was on track to be a Type-B all year before the last update (9/2). J.J. Putz is on track to be a Type-B. Matt Thornton, club option for 2011, is on track to be a Type-A. Alexei Ramirez is on track to be a Type-A but he isn’t a free-agent after this season.
Paul Konerko and Manny Ramirez are also on track to be Type-As. Konerko was on track to be a Type-B in the last update. J.J. Putz is on track to be a Type-B. Matt Thornton, club option for 2011, is on track to be a Type-A. Alexei Ramirez is on track to be a Type-A but he isn’t a free-agent after this season.
Twenty times this year Paul Konerko has filled the DH spot and seven times he has taken a day off. In all 27 instances Mark Kotsay took his place at first base. In an additional 47 games Kotsay himself has served as the DH. This has been nothing but a detriment to the team. Kotsay is no longer a good hitter, and really hasn’t been one since 2004. He has a mere .304 wOBA this year after a .309 mark last year, and he hasn’t crossed the .320 mark since 2005. There was no reason to think he’d approach average production for a DH. Yet he has been their primary guy in that spot. It seems like it could have gone to a more worthy player. …
Konerko’s ability to hit the fastball – among the first thing that goes in older players – is better than ever. According to FanGraphs, Konerko has produced 10 runs more off fastballs than anyone in baseball this season.
“There’s time when your swing’s efficient,” Konerko said. “It’s not the actual bat speed. There are a million guys with more bat speed than me. That’s the equivalent of saying if you throw really hard, you’re the best pitcher in the league. I go for efficiency.
Paul Konerko and J.J. Putz are on track to be Type-Bs. Matt Thornton, club option for 2011, is a Type-A. Alexei Ramirez is again on track to be a Type-A (he had slipped to Type-B) but he isn’t a free-agent after this season.