This off-season The Nats Blog will be conducting interviews with sites from all thirty teams. One team a week leading up to the start of the 2011 baseball season. This week I spoke with Mark Primiano from South Side Sox, one of the top Chicago White Sox blogs on the net, to talk about former National Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, and other matters surrounding the team.
TNB: The White Sox signed a DC favorite in Adam Dunn. How will he fit into the lineup and is there any chance we see him play the field?
South Side Sox: Adam Dunn adds the premium left-handed power threat that the White Sox have been lacking since they traded Jim Thome to the Dodgers during the 2009 stretch run. He will most likely be hitting third or fifth in the lineup, as Paul Konerko has been hitting fourth in Chicago for quite some time. He will definitely see some time in the field, as Ozzie loves having players that can theoretically play multiple positions. He’ll spell Konerko at first more than a few times this season and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him in left field more than once.
TNB: Paul Konerko just signed a three-year, $37.5 million deal to stay with Chicago. He has tremendous value not just on the field, but off as well. Talk about his leadership and where he ranks among the White Sox greats.
South Side Sox: Paul Konerko has been captain of the White Sox for the past few seasons. And this isn’t like the Red Sox or the Yankees, where there is a long history of captains. Konerko is the first captain of the Pale Hose since way back in the day. Obviously this says a lot about how the other players in the clubhouse view him. He’s more of a lead-by-example type guy, thanks to his propensity for Eeyore-like dirges regarding his own abilities. Along with Mark Buehrle, he has been the face of the franchise for the past decade. This extension gives him an outside shot at passing Frank Thomas for the franchise record in homeruns (448-358), total bases (3949-3238), and RBI (1465-1127). At this point, it would honestly be shocking if Konerko’s number 14 isn’t retired when he decides to hang up his cleats.
TNB: Does the rift between GM Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen make for the perfect storm or create too many distractions?
South Side Sox: I feel that the rift between Kenny and Ozzie is really just an overplayed story from the local media. The two had some arguments at the start of the season, but that probably happens in every organization. I doubt there is a single manager-GM tandem that completely agree on every personnel decision. The White Sox just happen to have two of the more outspoken men in their respective fields, which creates the publicity. That being said, any attention drawn towards the team is good when you’re the less popular team out of two in the same city.
TNB: Several sources are saying that Carlos Quentin is not on the trading block. Is this the right move?
South Side Sox: Unless the return package is overwhelming, I’m perfectly happy with holding onto Carlos Quentin. Was his 2008 a fluke season? Probably. But that doesn’t mean he lacks value. There aren’t an abundance of players left with his kind of power. True, his defense is terrible and he’s a bit of a porcelain doll, but the White Sox are the perfect team right now to deal with that. Sharing an outfield with Juan Pierre and Alex Rios can help mask his deficiencies with the glove. I expect somewhat of a bounce back season in 2011 from Carlos Quentin.
TNB: Assuming Bobby Jenks doesn’t return, how will the team address the closer situation?
South Side Sox: In my ideal world, Ozzie decides to name Sergio Santos the traditional closer. Matt Thornton is the best relief pitcher the White Sox have (and the best in the division), but I much prefer seeing him used in actual high-leverage situations. He would be wasted being brought in for 3 outs with no one on base in the ninth. Another distinct possibility that could happen should Kenny Williams not find a few more bullpen arms is Chris Sale. Sale was the first round pick for the White Sox in the 2010 draft and pitched amazingly out of the bullpen during the stretch run last season. I’d like to see him spend time in the minors working on becoming a starter, but this could be a Neftali Feliz type scenario.