By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 30, 2005 9:36PM
The biggest off-season question on all White Sox fans' minds was whether Paul Konerko would return or not. With his MVP performance through the playoffs, Konerko expected to receive a number of huge contract offers. While there were a couple offers from other teams, Paulie chose to stay with the White Sox, signing a 5-year, $60 million deal. Initially wanting to sign Konerko to a 4 year deal, Sox GM Kenny Williams matched the contract length other teams offered. Konerko said right after the World Series that all things being equal, he'd choose the Sox over another team -- which is exactly what he did.
Earlier this week, the Baltimore Orioles made an offer of 4 years and $50 million before increasing it to to $65 million over 5 years. But Konerko had no interest in playing for Baltimore and he wanted to play for a team that trains in Arizona. He turned down the O's offer, not even bothering to even make a counter proposal.
Yesterday, Konerko visited the Los Angeles Angels -- considered to be the strongest suitors besides the Sox. They offered Konerko a five-year, $60 million contract. While he had good relationships with a number of Angels coaches and front office staff and their spring training facility is just 15 miles from his off-season home in Tempe, it wasn't enough to get him to leave the White Sox.
Craig Landis, Konerko's agent, said today,
Paul in the last 24 to 48 hours really came to terms with the fact that he wanted to be a Chicago White Sox. He had a hard time turning down the chance to go back and try to win another championship in Chicago. He has loyalty to his teammates and to the fans there and feels very wanted, not just by the White Sox organization but by the whole city of Chicago. He felt that that could not be matched in other cities.
With Konerko re-signed, the recently acquired Jim Thome becomes their everyday DH. It also means that Frank Thomas's career with the White Sox is most likely over.
While White Sox GM Kenny Williams accomplished his primary off-season priority, he's not likely to stand pat between now and Spring Training. He's expressed interest in adding a speedy #2 hitter to the line-up. Chicagoist questions where that speedster will play, however? We thought he moved Rowand in order to free up an outfield spot for one of a number of prospect ready for the majors, like Brian Anderson. But we wouldn't hit him in the 2 slot just yet. And we liked the way Tadahito Iguchi filled that roll last year. So Chicagoist would keep the line-up as it was during the playoffs, replacing Everett with Thome. Or maybe sliding Konerko up to 3rd, Thome 4th and Dye 5th.