Paul Konerko gets combination birthday/farewell cake from teammates


Paul Konerko is set to retire at the end of the year after spending the last 15 seasons of his career with the Chicago White Sox. He’ll be a part of a crowded roster this year that will see Jose Abreu play most games at first base and Adam Dunn stand in as the designated hitter. Konerko will be used primarily to spell those guys, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be respected any less.

Wednesday was Konerko’s 38th birthday, and his teammates presented him with a cake that was birthday themed but also mentioned his last season with the team.

“One more year then … He gone!” the cake read. “Senior citizens, although slow & dangerous behind the wheel, can still serve a purpose!”

Infielder Gordon Beckham is the one who actually gave Konerko the cake. Very few players in the league are respected more than the six-time All-Star. I’m guessing a sarcastic birthday cake won’t be all he gets from the team this season.

H/T Big League Stew
Photo: Twitter/White Sox

Paul Konerko: White Sox can have a successful season without making playoffs

The White Sox are entering 2012 with an entirely new look. Some of the veterans like Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski remain but others like Mark Buehrle and — most importantly — Ozzie Guillen have moved on. Chicago fans are hoping new manager Robin Ventura can be effective and a lot of young players can step up. What they probably don’t want to hear is Konerko telling them 2012 can be a successful year without reaching the postseason.

“There’s a lot of ‘ifs,’” Konerko said according to the Chicago Tribune. “But again I don’t think you have to sit there and say, ‘We’re trying to win, we’re trying to rebuild.’ Who knows. Cleveland last year, not that they won the division, but all in all I think it was a very successful year. Cleveland just came in looking to see what they had. But I think this year, this team is different than a lot of teams we’ve had recently.

“I hope I don’t throw anybody off with this, but this can be a very successful year without making the playoffs.”

I understand what Konerko means, but that’s not what people want to hear. Realistically, the White Sox playoff chances aren’t very high. There are a lot of new pieces in place and everything would have to click perfectly. It’s possible, but unlikely. Fans do not want to hear that. A team that is rebuilding might consider an 81-81 season a success, but fans in a city like Chicago expect World Series contention every season — regardless of the way the roster has changed. Fans aren’t going to be pleased with Konerko’s comments, but managing expectations may not be a bad idea with the number of question marks the Sox have this season.

2011 MLB All-Star Game Snubs: American League

Compared to the National League All-Star team, the fans did a poor job voting on the American League team. Most of the reasonable complaints regarding snubs are from the AL team. We already gave you the All-Star Game snubs from the National League.

Here are the American League All-Star team snubs:

Jhonny Peralta over Derek Jeter at SS

This is a no-brainer. The fans vomited on themselves with this one, probably because a) Jeter is so popular and b) most of them don’t know who Peralta is. Asdrubal Cabrera made the team as the backup shortstop and he should be starting. Peralta should be the backup.

Paul Konerko over Michael Young as 1B/INF

Paul Konerko being left off the team is the biggest snub of MLB. He has a .954 OPS which is fourth-best in the entire AL. It’s a joke that he’s not on the team and it’s criminal that Ron Washington stuck him in the fan vote. Instead of carrying three catchers, Washington should have put Konerko on the team over either Martin or Wieters. At the least, he should be there over Young who is good but can’t mash the way Konerko can.

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Chicago White Sox Reportedly Closing in on Deals with Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko

What could possibly be better than adding one big free agent bat? How about retaining another. The Chicago White Sox, who finished seven games over .500 and six games behind the Twins in the AL Central last season, reportedly are close to announcing the signing of Adam Dunn. According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Dunn is taking a physical and then the Sox can announce a four-year deal with him reported to be worth $56 million. As if that wasn’t enough, Cowley reports that White Sox players think free agent Paul Konerko will return to the team.

A four-year $56 million deal is slightly less than what Dunn reportedly was hoping for ($60 million), but that is the type of deal he deserves. The big slugger took a huge paycut signing with the Nats for just $20 million over two years in 2009. He had the misfortune of becoming a free agent for the first time when the economy entered the recession and signed a short-term deal with the hope of cashing in on another deal. That opportunity has come and it looks like Dunn will finally be paid.

Dunn has earned a reputation as Mr. Consistency. He hit exactly 40 home runs four straight seasons with the Reds (and part of 2008 after being traded to Arizona) and then he hit 38 home runs in both seasons with the Nats. He’s driven in at least 100 runs six times and has a career OPS of .902. He has clubbed 282 home runs since 2004, more than any baseball player except Albert Pujols. Dunn is a premier slugger in the game and will be an excellent addition to Chicago’s lineup.

Paul Konerko is 34 years old and coming off his finest season as a pro. He’s been with the White Sox since 1999 and driven in at least 90 runs eight times for them, clubbing at least 30 home runs six times. Bringing Konerko back gives the White Sox a slugger at first base to hold down the middle of the lineup as he has been for over a decade. The Adam Dunn signing keeps Chicago as a contender in the AL Central race, retaining Konerko makes them a legitimate threat to win the division and be a playoff force.

Paul Konerko, Welcome to the Club

We’ve had several near misses in the LBS Golden Sombrero Club lately, but no inductions until Wednesday night. Keep in mind, a player who goes 0-for-5 with 4K’s but doesn’t K in every trip to the plate doesn’t quite qualify unfortunately. The point of the Golden Sombrero is that it highlights the an incredibly brutal game — a night where the player does not even reaching base nor touch a ball all night. That’s pretty bad. Jay Bruce was pretty close on Tuesday night, but he got plunked in his first at-bat before K’ing the next four times. Anyway, today, the focus is on Paul Konerko.

Paul Konerko was just activated from the disabled list after missing about three weeks with an oblique injury. In his first game back against the Royals, Konerko went 1-for-3 with an RBI ground out and a single. The man once considered a force in the AL who was coveted by the Angels added to his already miserable season by going 0-for-4 with four punch outs against Kansas City, three swinging, and one looking. Konerko did the deed three times against Brian Bannister, and the fourth against Ramon Ramirez. It’s sad to see Konerko — a virtual lock in the past for 30 homers and 100 ribbies — struggling so much at the plate. At this point I typically like to say that the player will have better days, but in the case of Konerko, I think his best days are behind him. Konerko may have gone the unfortunate way of the Sexson. What a shame.