White Sox

Sox Drawer: Paulie Disney Magic

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Sox Drawer: Paulie Disney Magic

Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010
Posted 7:02 PM

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

ORLANDO, Fla - From the home of Splash Mountain - Disney's water ride - the White Sox have made quite a splash themselves; stepping onto the edge of the diving board, leaping high into the air, and plunging deep in the free agent pool with one giant cannonball.

Their competitors? Now drenched.

Yep, the captain is coming back to the South Side for three more years, at a cost of 37.5 million, or slighly less than what they charge for a cup of coffee here at the "Land of Make Believe."

Paul Konerko and the Sox: That's for real. And considering what it took to get here, a relief.

"To come back was always 1-A as far as what was in my mind. I wanted it to happen," Konerko said. "Not only this off-season, but years ago on how you want things to play out."

But last week, while Konerko was sitting on a beach in Mexico, looking out over the ocean, he received a text which he thought might have sealed his fate, ending his legendary career with the White Sox.

"Someone texts me and says they just signed Adam Dunn, and my first thought was 'That was a fun 12 years. That's it. It was a him or me situation,'" Konerko recalled. "Then I remembered Kenny (Williams) at the end of the year telling me, 'Listen, if we go after this next year and we want to win, I don't want you or Adam, I want both of you. So that was in my mind as well going, Okay, maybe that's the case. Maybe they're going to make a push to get both of us.'"

But it wasn't easy.

Unable to come to an agreement on Tuesday, Williams' patience ran thin, so he delivered a loud warning shot that evening saying, "We have other meetings with other guys representatives tonight and it's with the mindset to try and get a deal done."

Safe to say that Konerko's agent, Craig Landis, got the message.

Pretty soon, dialogue between both sides started heating up. Around 7 p.m., Williams and assistant GM Rick Hahn ventured out to a sushi restaurant, and in between the sashimi, there were plenty of texts and e-mails going back and forth. Finally after an hour, Hahn received a text from Landis.

The money was right. And apparently so was the sake.

Joked Williams, "Had Craig probably waited a little while longer, he might have gotten a little bit more (money) because Rick and I started to tip a few back after a while."

Following dinner, Hahn had one final phone conversation with Landis, and the deal was done.

When the news reached Konerko, he was soon on the phone with one of his longtime teammates to share the good news.

"I was so happy for him and for his family," A.J. Pierzynski told Comcast SportsNet. "And Paul doesn't look right in another uniform. I can't see him in another uniform so I was ecstatic when he told me the news."

And considering Pierzynski backloaded his own contract (along with Dunn) to make room for Konerko, did he put any pressure on him to sign?

"No, I told him he has to make the decision. The only thing I told him was that if he left, I would have his locker and I would have a 'C' (for captain) on my jersey next year. So apparently the White Sox are doing anything in their power to keep me from the captaincy," said Pierzynski with a laugh.

If the White Sox didn't work out, Konerko did have other options. One of them was the Arizona Diamondbacks, who reportedly offered him a 3-year, 30 million contract (7.5 million less than the White Sox offer), which would have allowed Paul to play near his off-season home in Arizona.

"It definitely was a possibility and definitely something that was intriguing to me, not only because of the things that would come along with playing with a team close to where I live, but because I think that team is going to get a lot better and are on their way up," Konerko said. "It was a great option to have. But it didn't work out going that way. But I was thrilled that they were interested in me."

So with Konerko, Dunn, and Pierzynski aboard, what's next?

Said Williams, "Figuring out a way to pay for all of this."

Signing Konerko? That's money in the bank.

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

White Sox adjust 40-man roster — including adding Eloy Jimenez — ahead of Rule 5 Draft deadline

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USA TODAY

White Sox adjust 40-man roster — including adding Eloy Jimenez — ahead of Rule 5 Draft deadline

The White Sox made some adjustments to their 40-man roster ahead of Monday's deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft.

Rules stipulate that a player who signed when he was 18 or younger and has played five seasons of professional baseball is eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft if he is not on his team's 40-man roster. Because of that, the White Sox — like the rest of the teams in the league — made some moves Monday to protect certain players.

The White Sox announced Monday afternoon that they purchased the contracts of infielder Casey Gillaspie from Triple-A Charlotte, outfielder Eloy Jimenez from Double-A Birmingham, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and pitcher Ian Clarkin from Class-A Winston-Salem and outfielder Micker Adolfo from Class-A Kannapolis.

Simultaneously, pitchers Chris Beck and Tyler Danish were outrighted to Charlotte.

The most notable name on the list is of course Jimenez, the highly ranked outfielder acquired from the Cubs in July's trade that sent Jose Quintana to the North Side. Jimenez was a no-brainer to be protected after he slugged 19 homers and hit 22 doubles with 65 RBIs in his 89 games in the minors last season, splitting time between Birmingham and Winston-Salem in the White Sox system and Class-A Myrtle Beach in the Cubs' system. Jimenez is ranked as the White Sox No. 1 prospect by MLB.com.

Gillaspie was acquired in the trade that sent Dan Jennings to the Tampa Bay Rays. The brother of former White Sox infielder Conor Gillaspie, he hit 15 homers and 20 doubles in 125 games all at the Triple-A level. Gillaspie is ranked as the White Sox No. 11 prospect by MLB.com.

Basabe, the White Sox No. 17 prospect, was in last offseason's Chris Sale trade and hit .221 with five homers and 12 doubles at Winston-Salem. Adolfo, the White Sox No. 14 prospect, was signed as a free agent in 2013 and hit .264 with 16 homers and 28 doubles at Kannapolis. Clarkin, the White Sox No. 22 prospect, was acquired in the seven-player trade with the Yankees in July and posted a 2.60 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 86.2 innings of work at the Class-A level.

The 27-year-old Beck posted a very high 6.40 ERA in 64.2 innings out of the White Sox bullpen last season. Danish made just one appearance with the big league club last season, getting his first major league win in the second game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.

Three months till baseball's back as White Sox announce spring training schedule

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USA TODAY

Three months till baseball's back as White Sox announce spring training schedule

Only three more months till the White Sox are back in action.

The South Siders announced their spring training schedule Monday, with Cactus League play commencing Feb. 23 out in Arizona.

The White Sox have the unenviable task of opening the exhibition schedule against the defending National League champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers playing hosts to the Pale Hose in Glendale. The White Sox will be the visitors, though they share the Camelback Ranch facility with the Dodgers, so they'll still be in their home ballpark. Their first official home game comes two days later, in a Feb. 25 matchup against the Cincinnati Reds.

The White Sox will face off against the Cubs in three "Cactus Crosstown" games on Feb. 27 and March 10 in Mesa and on March 16 in Glendale.

And in a cool wrap to the preseason, the White Sox will square off against their own Triple-A affiliate March 26 in Charlotte. The game against the Knights should be a fun watch considering all the future White Sox expected to make their way to the big leagues over the next couple seasons. The Knights' roster could be loaded with highly ranked prospects depending on how things shake out.

Here's the full schedule: