The longer the Konerko Komplication (patent pending) stretches on, the more it allows for aesthetic questions like “who would you rather see in a White Sox uniform again: Konerko or Adam Dunn?” or “Does he deserve another chance?” and the farther it drags away from performance analysis that would discourage tendering the man another contract. Being now officially irritable on the topic, I vented frustrations:
After which it was hard to feel like I had done anything more than kick over a table filled my friend’s drinks.
I don’t know, man. I’m sorry.
Rick Hahn made a point of insisting that holding a spot open for Paul Konerko is not precluding them from making moves to acquire offense.
"“Obviously we have a plan if he’s back and we have a plan if he’s not back,” Hahn said. “We haven’t missed on any opportunities to fill that role if he doesn’t fill it himself.”"
It’s nice–and expected–that Hahn is sharp enough to take into account how holding a torch for Konerko could limit his options, but it’s agree to disagree on how self-fulfilling the assessment that nothing worth considering has or will run across while the Konerko vigil is in place. It’s more of a principle disagreement than a particular position of dread, as I doubt the White Sox are going to waste their shot at Bryce Harper waiting for Konerko.
Bats. // Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
But it’s an inefficiency for the sake of sentiment, and as much as the White Sox pride themselves on their remarkable loyalty, this is not a particularly unique or valuable failing in the world of baseball, and as Steve Peters pointed out on South Side Sox, ignoring an opportunity for a clean ending could just create an uglier one down the road.
Hahn, and pretty much everyone who has covered Konerko, insists that the decision to return by him would be a coldly rational one, born out of confidence that he could make an impact. But as cognizant as Konerko must be of how his last 10 months of game action has gone, there’s a leap of faith inherent in that.
A smaller, but more relevant leap of faith appears to be the one the Sox are making for Jose Quintana. When Dan Hayes reported that Jose Quintana was being cited by rival executives as someone the Sox were unwilling to consider dealing, it seemed like they were breaking away from the rest of the field in terms of their confidence level with the young Colombian hurler. In a Twitter conversation Tuesday night, Dan Hayes provided background on why that might be the case.
I have recommended the Sox trade Quintana because over the long haul, they have been better at developing pitching than hitting and seem more likely to absorb Quintana’s loss smoothly than develop a bat of equal value. However, if they think he’s a building block, holding onto him suggests that they are playing a longer game for rebuilding the offense than their “as soon as possible” talk would suggest. Which is fine.
Though it leads to further speculation on why the Sox were supposedly in on Josh Johnson before he agreed to a one-year, $8 million deal with the Padres. With Quintana off the board, Hector Santiago morphs into the most tradable White Sox hurler, a fact that is not holding him back from a feverish offseason throwing schedule or his umpteenth planned social interaction with fans. Hahn claims trade talks are percolating and suggests something is coming, without even the slightest indication of what, so perhaps the only thing left to do to kill time is talk to Hector.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan