Monday, Dec. 6, 2010
By Chuck Garfien
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. -- Day One of the MLB winter meetings is playing out like a primetime TV show for the White Sox, a team surrounded by mystery and suspense.
The sub-plot: Will they re-sign Paul Konerko?
At the moment, no one knows for sure. But Ozzie Guillen thinks he knows the answer. Well, at least his gut thinks so.
Is Paulie coming back?
I say yes, Guillen said in an interview with Comcast SportsNet. Thats my gut feeling, but my gut has been pretty wrong a lot. I say yes because thats the guy we want the most. But like Kenny Williams said a couple days ago, he better hurry because if you dont make a decision, were going to lose the guys behind him.
Team Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was scheduled to meet with Craig Landis, Konerkos agent, Monday morning at 11 a.m. eastern time. Kenny Williams arrived later, talking contract parameters with Landis, a meeting that lasted around 45 minutes. However, no offer was made.
Before they signed Adam Dunn last week, the Sox' biggest priority appears to have been the pursuit of one Adrian Gonzalez.
The Padres eventually traded the All-Star first baseman to the Red Sox, but behind-the-scenes, the White Sox were reportedly trying to pry him loose.
Williams wouldnt comment on the topic, but Guillen did slightly, giving us a glimpse into some of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering.
There were rumors out there that the White Sox were after Gonzalez. It was something that Kenny kind of told me after, Guillen said.
Gonzalez? Dunn? Konerko? Williams wasnt kidding when he said last week that the White Sox are going all in this season. And that even surprised Guillen.
Did he think the Sox would be this aggressive this off-season?
No, I was wrong. I told my family that we have to be ready because were going to be managing kids. When I saw the (Dunn) move, I was shocked. I texted Joey Cora after we signed him. The whole coaching staff was shocked. Thats a great thing. A lot of teams wanted him and we got him. Kenny and Jerry showed the fans that we want a winning team. I hope the fans support them too, because thats a big part, to put people in the stands, and I hope they do that.
Guillen is already thinking about his lineup for next season, one with Dunn hitting 3rd.
I want to give Dunn the most at-bats. I want him hitting in the first inning, Guillen said.
If Konerko re-signs, hed bat 4th. Alex Rios 5th.
Guillen sees Matt Thornton and Chris Sale competing for the closer role, unless Sale starts the season in the rotation.
Is Guillen preparing for Bobby Jenks not coming back to the South Side?
I have to," the Sox skipper said. "I have no other choice. I read in the paper the other day that we didnt get along. That guy is wrong, because the guy I talk about the most is Bobby Jenks. Hes still out there. I dont know whats going on. I think the Chicago White Sox will miss him.
Besides the Konerko story, the big buzz here at the meetings was about the 7-year, 126 million contract the Nationals gave to Jayson Werth, who gets all that money despite playing in only one All-Star Game (as a fill-in reserve in 2009).
Said one MLB executive, We dont have that many superstars, but were paying players like it.
Guillen put it another way.
I wish I was his agent. Or his wife.
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.