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What do the White Sox owe Paul Konerko?

Jonathan Daniel

Usually when I'm fisking someone else's column, it's fairly easy to choose the most representative passage and just riff on that for a bit. But as I'm going through Rick Morrissey's piece about the White Sox and Paul Konerko, it seems there's no "most representative" passage. There's just the same passage, repeated again and again but with slightly different words. Here's my paraphrased version of the column, writ small:

Paul Konerko can't hit any more but he's been a great guy on the club so the White Sox owe him one more year's salary and at least a few hundred more at-bats before he makes his graceful exit. Oh, and sabermetrics are heartless but I'm not and the White Sox shouldn't be, either.

Like I said, I'm just paraphrasing. As (almost) always, I encourage you to RTFA, since it's well-written and it's easier to engage with a writer's work if, you know, you actually read it.

Which I did. So I feel free to engage, and my opinion is that Morrissey's charity is misplaced.

The White Sox have Jose Abreu to play first base.

The White Sox also have Adam Dunn for one more season, at $15 million. So he's not going anywhere. But wait, there is good news! Dunn bats left-handed, which is good news because Konerko bats right-handed. Assuming Dunn remains the American League-average hitter he was last season and Konerko bounces back from his terrible last season, the ChiSox do have the makings of a non-terrible designated hitter platoon.

Ah, but do the White Sox have the luxury of devoting two roster spots to non-terrible hitters who should rarely be allowed to take the field whilst not wearing a batting helmet?

I dunno. I guess it depends on which other right-handed batters are hanging around, and how much money Konerko would want to play a couple of times per week.

I gotta say, though ... I'm always amused or bemused or x-mused when a writer suggests that a baseball player who's earned $100 million over the last seven years deserves anything except the respect and gratitude we might extend to anyone else who's done his job (usually) well and (generally) without making a fuss over himself.

Look, if Jerry Reinsdorf really loves Paul Konerko, he's got some options. He can just cut him (another) huge check and wish him the best of luck in his next endeavor. Or if Reinsdorf believes the Sox just can't get along without Konerko, he can offer him employment as a coach or a special consultant or whatever else. It's Reinsdorf's money, and he should spend it however he likes. But roster spots and plate appearances are valuable commodities, and it's not fair to the manager or the front office or the fans to hire a player because he's been a good guy with some big seasons.