White Sox

Sox Drawer: Is This the Konerko Countdown?


Sox Drawer: Is This the Konerko Countdown?

Friday, Feb. 26, 2010
7:40 PM
By Chuck Garfien

Glendale, Ariz - In the movie The Blues Brothers, Jake and Elwood go around Chicago famously trying to put the band back together.

Since 2005, weve been watching another famous Chicago band slowly break apart. Once upon a time, they were belting out Dont Stop Believin. Nowadays, theyre singing a different Journey tune.

Separate Ways.

Rowand. Podsednik. Dye. There goes the horn section.

Crede. Garland. Uribe. The rhythm section is gone too.

And after this season, this former Sox supergroup could be losing its lead singer.

Paul Konerko.

For 11 seasons, the Sox captain has been the rock inside the clubhouse. The man who famously gave Jerry Reinsdorf the baseball that clinched the 2005 World Series, which probably also clinched the five-year, 60 million contract Konerko signed soon after.

But here we are, coming up on five years later, and Paul arrived at camp on Friday a little older, a little grayer, and wondering how long hell be able to sing Sweet Home Chicago and really mean it.

(The White Sox) might call tomorrow, they might call in the middle of the season , they might never call. Thats very possible, Konerko said. And if that happens, fine thats great. Weve had a great run here.

Its a run that has produced 319 homers, 1,016 RBI, and countless moments forever stapled in the memory banks of every White Sox fan from Bridgeport to Beverly, Frankfort to Flossmoor. But father time in baseball time is catching up to Paul, and hes not sure how much time, or how many hits hes got left.

Every year it seems like less, but I dont know. I think Im definitely more of a year too early guy than a year too late guy in my overall demeanor, I think. Having said that, Ill be 34 next week. Even if everything went good, I dont know. A few more years at the most?

But Pauls baseball future might not be in his control. Just ask Jermaine Dye, who told Konerko towards the end of last season that if he didnt get a fair offer in the offseason, he was prepared to retire at 36.

Paul might find himself in the same boat at 35.

Im happy to not go play. Ill maybe go during (next) season if someone asks me, but Im content with that. I would say that would probably be my mindset, where Im not going to force something if its not there.

Speaking with Ozzie Guillen about the Konerko conundrum on Friday, Guillen told CSN Im going to tell Konerko to have a great year and then make us have a headache. Thats easy. If P.K. has a great year, make Jerry(Reinsdorf) and Kenny (Williams) worry about it. Dont make me worry about it.

If Paul has the kind of year he had in 2009, Ozzie wont have to.

Konerko led the White Sox with 28 home runs and 88 RBI. Even though it might have been his seventh or eighth best season statistically, Paul said that 2009 is in the top three of his White Sox career.

The game was probably about as easy to play last year as it has ever been for me, and I want to keep building off of that.

If he doesnt, then one of the biggest pieces of this legendary band will likely be gone for good.

Jake without Elwood. The 2005 Sox without their big toe.

And then theres A.J. Pierzynski and his expiring contract.

There could be some pretty big shoes to fill.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox slugger Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?


White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?

As the 2018 season nears and the White Sox get ready to take on the rest of the American League, we're taking a team-by-team look at all 14 of their opponents.

What’s there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?

Perhaps a better question for White Sox fans: When’s Manny Machado coming to the South Side? (Better question from me, personally, is when Chicago might acquire Maryland's greatest creation: the crab pretzel. Had in College Park last summer. It's amazing.)

Whether that ends up happening or not is a question for next offseason, but that query is one that plenty of South Side baseball fans on social media have asked for years now. Machado, mentioned in trade rumors during the Winter Meetings in December, is most likely entering his final season as an Oriole. His contract is up at season’s end, and he’s expected to land a gargantuan deal next offseason.

The funny thing is that for all the hullabaloo over the 25-year-old infielder, he’s coming off his worst statistical campaign as a big leaguer. In 2017, he slashed .259/.310/.782, all three of those percentages seeing huge dropoffs after a sensational 2016 campaign a year prior. His power numbers stayed relatively consistent, but his run and hit totals plummeted as the O’s weren’t quite as a competitive as in years past.

Now, Machado is likely still cruising for a big contract regardless of what he does in 2018. He’s moving to shortstop, which will be interesting. But he’s young enough that even another season like last year won’t make too big a difference, considering how good he’s been throughout his career.

That’s who White Sox fans will be watching whenever their gaze falls on the Baltimore baseball club. (They won’t be alone, by the way, and some contending teams might even try to add him at the trade deadline.) But the O’s are making news for other reasons, recent reasons, in fact.

The biggest name left on the free-agent market finally signed this week, and now the Orioles have a big-time addition to their starting rotation. Unlike Jake Arrieta, it appears Alex Cobb’s waiting game paid off in the form of dollars, years and a no-trade clause. How nice for him. It’s also nice for the O’s, who get to add a guy to a low-key decent starting staff.

Cobb, who had a 3.66 ERA in 29 starts last season, might not be ready to rock for the start of the regular season considering he didn’t ink a deal until a week out from Opening Day — bet he’s good at staring contests, too — but the trio of Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner (another new addition) and Kevin Gausman will be ready, and all those guys are coming off a solid-enough 2017. Bundy had a couple good stretches, posting a 3.03 ERA over his first 13 starts and then a 2.00 ERA in the month of August. Gausman had a 3.31 ERA over his final 18 starts. Cashner, another free-agent signing, had a 3.40 ERA with the Texas Rangers.

So while the likes of Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and the better-than-Machado-last-year Jonathan Schoop still make the O’s an offensive threat in a hard-to-win AL East, the starting pitching might be where the magic is this time around.

2017 record: 75-87, fifth place in AL East

Offseason additions: Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner, Colby Rasmus, Alex Presley, Pedro Araujo, Joely Rodriguez, Nestor Cortes Jr.

Offseason departures: Welington Castillo, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty, Seth Smith, Jeremy Hellickson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley

X-factor: I said it just above, and I'll say it again: Jonathan Schoop was better than Manny Machado last season. Schoop made the All-Star team and finished with 32 homers, 105 RBIs and a .293/.338/.503 slash line. His .841 OPS was one of the best 50 in the game. Should we expect Schoop to be the best middle infielder on the O's in 2018, too? Maybe that's a little extreme, but hey, good to have this guy.

Projected lineup:

1. Tim Beckham, 3B
2. Jonathan Schoop, 2B
3. Manny Machado, SS
4. Adam Jones, CF
5. Chris Davis, 1B
6. Trey Mancini, DH
7. Colby Rasmus, RF
8. Caleb Joseph, C
9. Alex Presley, LF

Projected rotation:

1. Dylan Bundy
2. Andrew Cashner
3. Kevin Gausman
4. Chris Tillman
5. Mike Wright Jr.

Prediction: Third place in AL East, no playoffs

Catch up on the AL:

Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

Catch up on the NL:

San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers

Sounds like we know how the White Sox starting rotation will line up to start the season


Sounds like we know how the White Sox starting rotation will line up to start the season

Rick Renteria's starting rotation isn't exactly official for the start of the season, but it's about as close as it can be.

Maybe "unofficially official" is the best way to go?

The South Side skipper agreed with the assessment of reporters Wednesday in Arizona, saying that an order of James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer "sounds right."

Shields was already announced as the White Sox starter for the season opener next Thursday in Kansas City. That wasn't much of a surprise considering Shields' veteran status in this rotation.

Giolito, who made seven starts at the end of last season and looked mighty good doing it, might be the best starting pitcher on the team going into the season. He posted a 2.38 ERA in those games, with many fans hoping he would have been the one to take on the Royals in the opener. It sounds like he'll likely pitch two days later in Game 2 against the Crowns.

Lopez made eight starts at the end of last season, turning in a 4.72 ERA in those starts. He's another former highly touted prospect who will get a full season to continue his development at the major league level.

Gonzalez was brought back this winter after being traded away from the South Side last summer to bring another veteran mentor type to help along these young pitchers. He had a 4.31 ERA before the trade to the Texas Rangers after a 3.73 ERA in a full season with the White Sox in 2016.

Fulmer is another young arm who will be looking to earn a spot in the crowded rotation of the future this season. He's had a rough spring — though turned in his best start of the spring earlier this week — but he'll be given every opportunity to prove he can succeed as a big league starting pitcher after showing some promise at the end of last season.

Those first three guys will face off against the Royals on the season's opening weekend. Gonzalez and Fulmer are expected to make their first starts of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays in Canada.