/squeaky brakes noises. // Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
I’ve spent so much time and energy being mad about the very idea and proposal of this move that it’s completion is almost empty. I don’t want to be upset about it anymore, at least for the time being, since I still have the whole season to get through, and on the off-chance that one of the greatest players in franchise history isn’t reduced to well-paid mascot status, but actually provides some lefty-mashing thump, I want to be prepared to enjoy it.
But this is a bad move.
Lefty-mashers are a dime-a-dozen, lefty-mashers who can’t play any kind of defense are a nickel-a-dozen, and if I picked a lefty-masher, I probably would opt for one who wasn’t undergoing a rapid deterioration of his skills, making his .923 OPS against left-handers last year suspect. Handing Konerko a guaranteed spot blocks any room to add offensive pieces, like a corner outfielder who pushes Dayan Viciedo into more 1B/DH work, and possibly keeps Marcus Semien in the minors, where he has little left to prove, and possibly puts Conor Gillaspie on waivers. And these were all players more productive than Konerko last year.
And for the last time, if Konerko is so great for the clubhouse, why are the White Sox so awful?
Keeping Konerko on the roster doesn’t transform the White Sox from playoff contender to cellar dweller, but if I only wrote about events like that, I would probably take off weeks at a time. Bringing him back is unsound. And there are enough products of unsound analysis milling about that they could form their own separate union. The best way to break them up would be to stop creating new members.
This is obviously a nice gesture. It’s not directed at me, the fan, and since my relationship with the team usually involves large percentages of my personal income, I would appreciate if the warm feelings were kept flowing in this direction, but adoring, lifelong relationships with beloved players is a Jerry Reinsdorf hallmark, and thus has become a White Sox hallmark over the last 30-plus years.
Former players either dot the organization’s staff or hover around the stadium endlessly, the by-product of a team that tries to prevent the pain of departure by dragging it out. Even if it’s wrong, maybe staying rigid in their identity will make it all the more sweet when they finally turn it around and triumph again. This is your team, and the White Sox are the type of organization that allows Konerko an extraneous victory lap, throwing him into the lineup out of respect even though he’s long since washed up.
I just thought that they did that last year.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan