The White Sox have no new information on Paul Konerko’s decision, but it won’t hinder their offseason plans.
The White Sox believe they should know one way or the other if their veteran wants to return for the 2014 season by the time the winter meetings kick off in Orlando on Dec. 9. Though general manager Rick Hahn said hot stove chatter has begun to pick up this week, whether or not Konerko plays in 2014 won’t hold up any other moves the team has to make. A veteran of 15 seasons on the South Side and a free agent this offseason, Konerko has an open invitation to come back to the White Sox if he chooses.
“It’s not really hamstringing us in terms of our planning,” Hahn said. “We have a plan obviously if he’s back and we have a plan if he’s not back. We haven’t missed on any opportunities to fill that role if he doesn’t fill it himself. I think it’s going to be resolved for his preparation and for the terms of getting ready for spring training to have it set by December. I think we’ll be able to do that.”
One significant factor Konerko must grasp is the concept of shared playing time. Were he to return Konerko would find the bulk of the time on the field would go to Cuban Jose Abreu, who signed a six-year deal with the team earlier this month. The White Sox also have Adam Dunn under contract and how the club would divide playing time is unclear. Even so, Konerko has earned the right to return, chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said on Saturday.
As he dealt with an assortment of ailments in 2013, Konerko hit .244 with 12 homers and 52 RBIs in 126 games. Hahn believes Konerko would only return if he felt he could contribute at a high level.
“I don’t think Paulie wants to play just to be on the bench or a farewell tour,” Hahn said. “That’s not him. He’s not looking to go to every ballpark and receive a gift or a special sendoff from White Sox fans. He would want to play only if he felt he had something left in the tank and something to add to a club.”