In the eyes of a lot of Chicago White Sox fans, Paul Konerko is the greatest player to every wear the uniform. Although I don’t necessarily agree with that sentiment, I can certainly understand it. Koneko has played for the White Sox in three separate decades, which is something a lot of players in today’s era cannot say. He was also the face of the 2005 World Series championship team, making it really easy to love number 14 for eternity. However, Konerko’s contract is expiring at the end of the season, and I really do not think Rick Hahn & company plan on having a 36-year old first baseman in their five-year plan. Hahn even said as much in a recent interview, stating he had “no comment” on Konerko’s future. Therefore, it is very likely that 2013 will be the last time White Sox fans will see Paul Konerko running out to first base as a member of the Chicago White Sox – – and I’m okay with that.
I love Konerko as much as the next guy, but age is finally catching up to one of baseball’s most purest hitters. No one is willing to admit the fact Konerko’s performance – out of all the reasons the White Sox faltered down the stretch – is probably the one that affected the team the most. Konerko went from being Ted Williams in April and May, to James Loney throughout the rest of the season. His final numbers were still very good, seeing as a .298/.371/.486 slash line is nothing to sneeze at. However, I’m willing to bet that Konerko had a negative fWAR value in the second half of the season, which is something that is very hard to defend.
I appreciate everything that Paul Konerko has given the White Sox over the course of his marvelous career, and he definitely deserves a statue and his number retired. But just like Frank Thomas and Mark Buehrle before him, the show must go on, and it will likely go on without captain Konerko after this season.