Sox need to get it right with Paul Konerko
By S.C. Zuba
Give him an extension—and do it right now.
You really can’t put a price on what Paul Konerko—the captain of the White Sox, who is currently in the final year of a five-year/$60 million deal—has done for the 2010 Chicago White Sox. Take away his batting average, forget his home runs, heck, even throw out his RBIs, and Konerko is still the most valuable player to wear a White Sox uniform in the past five years.
Don’t get me wrong, the numbers are great, but Konerko does so much more for this team than produce runs.
He mentors. He encourages. He is the backbone of the franchise. He has a clubhouse presence like none other.
Kenny Williams, who is by far one of the smartest general managers in the game, needs to plead with White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf to open up his checkbook and pay Konerko whatever he wants, for however long he wants it, to stay on the South Side. This is vital for the future success of the White Sox.
The White Sox have a young core coming up in the minor leagues, and Konerko’s presence is a must-have for this team to succeed.
What Konerko offers to the White Sox is simply invaluable. After Sunday’s sweep of the Red Sox, Konerko was hitting .318 with 33 home runs and 98 RBIs. He has been the most consistent producer for the White Sox this season and needs to be promptly rewarded.
Konerko, 34, will likely seek a minimum deal of three years, and that is exactly what he deserves.
If the White Sox end up overtaking the first-place Twins to make the playoffs, you can bet Konerko will be an integral part in that process—just as he was when the White Sox won it all in 2005.
As soon as Konerko becomes a free agent after the 2010 season, teams will jump at the chance to add a veteran, four-time All-Star to their squad. He may cost the White Sox a few extra pennies, but at this point in his career, it’s worth it.
When someone is the face of the franchise, as Konerko is, that player deserves to finish his career with the team that brought him up—the team that he brought a World Series championship to.
It’s a sad thing when a player has an illustrious, multi-year career with a certain ball club and then is forced to move around from team to team in his final years in the league.
See Frank Thomas.
Thomas should have retired as a member of the Chicago White Sox. It was a travesty to see him finish his Hall of Fame career in Toronto and Oakland. Whatever the cost, he should have been wearing black and white when he played his final game.
The White Sox organization got it wrong with the Big Hurt. Let’s not get it wrong with Paulie.
Sign him. Sign him right now.
Share your thoughts with S.C. Zuba via e-mail at email@example.com.
From the Sept. 8-14, 2010 issue
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