Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Will the King be leaving the building? Konerko talks free agency

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paul-konerko.jpgIt was typical Paul Konerko.
The White Sox team captain was well thought out, he stayed away from controversy and he answered the questions without answering the questions.
As far as his future on the South Side as he is set to enter free agency this offseason? Konerko said a lot will depend on what the organization wants.
"I think where they stand right now is probably just figuring out where they want to go as a team,'' Konerko explained. "I'm kind of secondary. That goes for the other guys here who are in the same boat. Obviously it's a business, so they have to figure out payroll stuff and when they do that, then hopefully I'm in their conversation, as far as being brought back. Until then, I don't know what will happen.
"I have no sense of a market or anything like that. I don't expect anything. I don't have any illusions about anything. I just want to take it as it comes. Whatever comes my way, comes my way. I'll handle whatever comes. When you start getting into a situation where you're expecting this or I should be getting this because that guy got this, that's when you get let down and you're disappointed and you go to a place where you shouldn't go to. I just want to do what's right.''
Not only what's right for him and the team he will play for, but most importantly for his family. Konerko told the Sun-Times last week that he would have no problem following Jermaine Dye's path and sitting out an entire season if the situation wasn't right in every way.
What seems evident is that the 35-year-old is at least a $10-$14 million a year player in the market, and has indicated best-case scenario would be for him to play three more years. Add geography and playing for a team that he feels can win it all, well, let the bidding war begin.
"I'm a White Sox's, regardless if I go play somewhere else, that's what I'll be thought of, that's what I'll think of my career,'' Konerko said. "I feel like that mission has been accomplished. If I go on, I'll sleep fine at night knowing I was loyal when the time came [after the 2005 season].
"There's emotions, there will always be. If I come back and I finish my career, here, guess what? There's going to be emotions the last year. You're never going to get away from it. It's about doing what's right in that moment when it comes to make this next decision.''
Konerko did have some interesting remarks when asked about if he felt like the Sox were close to being that winning team he wants to play for.
"Strictly speaking from the talent and the guys, I believe it's a team that can fight and win,'' Konerko said. "I mean I do think that things need to get better. The Twins are a good team, a great team, and more than that they go about it the right way. You have to go out and catch them. They're not going to come back to you. With the talent and the people here we can do that if we tidy up some things and get a little better with some things and move their way, move toward them.''
Asked if tidying it up meant on or off the field, he responded, "A little bit of both, a little bit of everything. The physical play, the whole kind of, I mean we've got to up our game a little bit. It's not just about the talent on the field. It's no different than Little League. It's not always the talent that finishes first, second, third as far as who has that on paper. I do think that [the Twins] are a great team on paper, too. Probably at this moment a better team. So if you're not the better team you have to do a lot of things to catch them that are beyond the talent. That's something that will have to be addressed if they want to go in that direction.''
Manager Ozzie Guillen continued making his feelings about Konerko returning very obvious.
"Do we want it? We all do, there's no doubt,'' Guillen said. "Hopefully they get something done, we'll see what happens. That's a very, very delicate thing, a unique situation. He's a player, his number's going to be retired, he's going to have a statue here. If you look at PK's numbers and what he means to this organization, that's a pretty tough situation for everyone.''

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4 Comments

This will be Paulie's last big contract, why would he want to come back to a team that not only won't be able to compete with the Twins both on the field and financially, but probably the Tigers also.
Sox fans stayed away to a tune of almost 275,000 tickets for a team that was fighting for first place most of the summer. He came to the conclusion that this team cannot any longer compete for another division title let alone going back to a world series.
Please prove me wrong Mr.Reinsdorf.
Paulie, thanks for everything!

275,000 divided by 81 games means that the 'drop' was just under 3400 per game. I think that actually is pretty darn good considering the absolute horrible shape the economy is in and the fact that unemployment is soaring!

Did you look at attendance figures this past week around all of MLB? They were less than half full in Tampa Bay for the series between the Yankees .... a battle for first place!

Never mind the Sox loyalty thing ... the guy put up monster numbers this year and is not slowing down. Why re-load for an unknown? Makes no sense. PK should be a priority and fill in other places with rookies. Who leads the team if he leaves? Quentin? Rios? Ramirez? There is nobody. Pay him!

I think Paulie and all free agents may be a little disappointed by the paydays awaiting them this offseason. The economy is miserable...it costs around $250 for a family of 4 to have an outing at a major league game..and not a lot of people can afford that right now..wouldn't be surprised if he stays here as I don't think there's a huge jackpot for anybody

This is a no brainer imo and while it was a contract year Pulie has been a class act both on and off the field while wearing a White Sox uniform,not to mention the charity work he and his wife have been a part of.Was clearly the MVP of the White Sox in 2010 and has given it his all during his entire career.He has shown he wants to come back and he will be back.While others have been pushed away by the organization this is the time they make it right and showing other players in the clubhouse that by giving it all you have and representing the organization well-you will be rewarded.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on September 30, 2010 7:19 PM.

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