Ozzie Guillen, Alex Rios and Tony Pena will not be mentioned again after this sentence.
It was a long, frustrating year for the White Sox and their fans after an exciting offseason of spending, spending and more spending.
A.J. Pierzynski, come on down.
Adam Dunn, sure, why not.
Paul Konerko…good thing they re-signed him.
I shudder to think of what might have been if Kenny Williams chose the Donk over PK last offseason. All-in would have been a joke by May 1 instead of Sept. 1.
2011 Most Valuable Player: Paul Konerko – Paulie hit .300 with 31 homers and 105 RBIs, reaching the .300/30/100 mark for the second consecutive year and third time in his career. He posted a .388 OBP and .906 OPS with very little protection. He hit .286 with RISP on a team that hit .239 in such situations as a whole.
On July 31 when PK took a 95-mph heater off his knee, what did he do? Took a few days off then rattled off an 18-game on-base streak where he hit .382 despite barely being able to trot to first.
The epitome of class, Konerko was rewarded for his .312/39/111 2010 campaign with three years and $37.5 million. He responded by coming into camp and doing what he always does – produce. Konerko is four homers shy of 400 for his career and he got his 2,000th hit in August (in a loss, appropriately).
Paul Konerko, the 2011 Chicago White Sox MVP – it’s just too bad he couldn’t get a little help so he could be considered for the real thing.
Pitcher of the Year: Mark Buehrle – Phil Humber was the ace of the staff for the first half of the year, but who better to represent the White Sox pitching staff than the man who’s been doing it for over a decade?
Buehrle reached double-digit wins and 200 innings for the 11th consecutive season, posting a 3.59 ERA, the lowest it’s been since 2005 and the eighth time he’s gone under 4.00 for an entire season.
As Konerko represents the team on offense, Buehrle does the same on the mound.
After a rocky start in April, Buehrle went 18 straight starts allowing three runs or fewer. He faded down the stretch with the rest of the team but came out Sept. 27 and tossed seven shutout innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in what could have been his final start in a White Sox uniform.
If Buehrle doesn’t return this offseason, his presence will be missed on the field and in the clubhouse and he will be impossible to replace.
Rookie of the Year: Brent Morel – With all the hype surrounding Dayan Viciedo, he was bound to disappoint. Alejandro de Aza isn’t a rookie, little did you know. That leaves Tyler Flowers, Donny Lucy and a bunch of pitchers who weren’t around all that long and will still be rookies next year (Addison Reed – jump on the bandwagon now!). Morel basically wins it by default, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have nice things to say about him here at Southside Showdown.
Morel’s defense was better than the 14 errors and .953 fielding percentage would tell you – the kid has gold gloves in his future. He went off in September for 8 homers (10 total on the year), 15 walks (22 total for year) and a .340 OBP (.287), showing patience that the team hopes will carry into 2012.