Donkey Kong a front-office smash

Kenny Williams made bold moves and Jerry Reinsdorf bankrolled them, and Rick Hahn made the pieces fit. That's teamwork.

With Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko officially in the fold, it’s on like Donkey Kong.
And when you throw in the re-signing of A.J. Pierzynski, it’s been an equally enormous week for Rick Hahn.

Credit goes to RWShow for fast action on the Photoshop job.
Hahn played a big part in the return of the two World Series heroes. Pierzynski gave the Sox one last chance to re-sign him before taking the Los Angeles Dodgers’ offer, and Hahn responded with an unusually backloaded two-year, $8 million contract. Thanks to Kenny Williams getting rid of $2 million worth of Scott Linebrink, they worked out the deal in “10 or 15 minutes.”
Konerko ended a series of routine negotiations couple days of mild tension SOUTH SIDE STANDOFF!!! by agreeing to another creatively structured deal brokered by Hahn, and the Sox had pressure to get something done. Camp Konerko wanted $15 million at the onset of negotiations; internally, I had figured three years, $40 million, with $14 million in the final year.
They got it down to three years and $37.5 million, and it works for both sides. Konerko avoids a pay cut while receiving a third year, and the Sox have a little more wiggle room for 2013 thanks to deferred money. Konerko actually stands a chance to actually be underpaid at age 37, and the deferred money amounts to less than 1 percent of the payroll over the next seven years. The Sox proved they can win just fine while flushing a million (pointing to Ben Davis, tapping nose).
The Sox jumped over plenty of barrels, retaining their captain and solving the DH problem under difficult emotional circumstances and the return of open wallets all around baseball. And with Pierzynski back in the fold for a third of his 2010 cost, the Sox worked out three problems efficiently for 2011.
Therein lies the rub. If the Sox play well next season, Hahn might not be long for an assistant GM role. He went through the full interview process with the Mets and had nice things said about him, and there’s no shame in losing to Sandy Alderson. If he gets credit for making the pieces fit during a tricky offseason, his next interview could be his ticket out from under Kenny Williams’ wing. That is, if Williams isn’t planning on going out on top.
But we all know the risk of banking on one year, so there’s a chance nobody comes out of this looking great. Dunn, Konerko, Alex Rios, Jake Peavy and A.J. Pierzynski are set to make $61 million in 2012, and it’s not an easy bet that even three of them will be worth their salary. If the Sox win the Central in 2011, they can swing it. If not, it could get hairy.
That said, the Sox are coming off a good year that could have been better had they not gone with the Rotating DH, so it makes perfect sense that their strategy is “I want a do-over.” Remarkably, they’re only a cheap back-end starter and a couple of affordable relievers from getting it done. Williams drew up the plan, but he didn’t act alone. Jerry Reinsdorf gave him the money, and Hahn doled it out.
***********************
Leftovers from the Konerko signing:
*Ken Rosenthal says the Arizona Diamondbacks challenged the Sox the most, offering three years and $30 million, no deferred money.
*The White Sox downplayed Reinsdorf’s involvement in the matter, although Joe Cowley protested on Twitter.
*When asked about the White Sox’s chances in 2011, Konerko delivered quite a soliloquy.
*Keith Law says the signing demands early returns.
*The Transaction Oracle, Dan Szymborski, projects Konerko to fall just short of an .800 OPS in 2013.
*MLB.com videos: Williams on the signing, and Konerko’s reaction.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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saltydog

“The Sox jumped over plenty of barrels…”
HAR! I gets it.

dalton

I wanted more DK references…

fustercluck

Beckham = Diddy Kong
Hawk = Cranky Kong
Alexei = Lanky Kong
Jamie Kotsay = Candy Kong (no more save points)

dalton

The first comment beneath the MLB.com article to which Jim provided a link was in regard to keeping Viciedo as a utility guy/late-inning PH. He has value as a trade commodity, but I’d rather have his bat in the lineup on days we give either Dunn or Konerko a rest. Plus, who do you want coming off the bench to hit late in the game, Viciedo or Lillibridge? That being said, who are the Sox willing to move in order to get the bullpen help they need? Viciedo is a likely candidate.

knoxfire30

Lots of great offseason work done so far by the whitesox, now its time to add a couple relievers and a possible 5th starter as insurance!
With the bosox landing agone and crawford, and the yankees likely to land lee, the tigers getting victor martinez, it looks like the american league will be strong as ever. The twins havent even made a move yet and their team still is solid.

bigfun

Well, they got a bit; effectively two years of Carlos Gomez, one year of JJ Hardy, and now the two relief pitchers, maybe one of whom might be somewhat useful. But yeah, certainly much less than they expected.

sars

and what’s funny is the mets have gotten much less out of santana than they expected.

dalton

Man, that guy at the Baseball Think Factory’s 3-year projection for Konerko is sobering. Konerko’s Top Comps are Zisk, Baines and McGriff? Really? And he’s going to hit 25 – 30 fewer RBIs in 2011 while also hitting below his career average? Why don’t we just outfit Paulie for a wheelchair right now and get it over with?

sars

projections systems routinely low-ball potential RBI totals since, well, a) they’re worthless and b) somewhat difficult to predict.

LS_SoX_FN

I gotta say… i dont know if i really buy the “were all tapped out” thing from Kenny.
Jerry has lived first hand what can happen when you dont properly address the bullpen. Hes was a witness to how quickly an injury and a series of blown leads can demoralize and eventually destroy a team.
He’s already invested so much, and this team is in contention right now. Spend another 5$mil on a couple mid level bullpen arms, and you greatly increase the chances that the nearly 80$ mil you already spent truly gets the chance to be worth it.

knoxfire30

exactly, you dont spend this type of money to fail in 2011 because you cant pony up 3-6 mil more on a couple bullpen arms
plus with viciedo and flowers now pretty blocked those are guys who can be traded to bring bullpen help if the situation gets desperate enough

dalton

That would be pennywise, pound foolish.

LS_SoX_FN

I really hope we dont trade flowers… his value could not be lower and there is no harm in letting him get 1 more year to sort it out… I could see Viciedo having some value… somehow…though i have absolutely no idea where hes going to play on the field… I say was stick him in right after quentin gets hurt

buford

Allen’s 2009 SO% – 38.5%
Allen’s 2010 SO% – 44.4%
AZ GM Towers does not like players who SO a lot (e.g., Reynolds traded) and this does not bode well for Allen evidenced by these statements by Tower at an 11-4-10 Q&A at MLB.com :
“…We need to cut down on strikeouts, add more contact-type hitters and put pressure on the opponent every inning.”
“…Currently, our in-house candidates are Brandon Allen at first base and Cole Gillespie and Gerardo Parra in left field. But we will be looking to upgrade both positions this offseason either through free agency or trades.”
Towers must not see much hope for improvement in Allen.

buford

This is an example regarding the ability to recognize overvalued prospects in a timely manner. It took 2 September call ups for Towers to receive enough feedback and make a decision on Allen’s ML future.
Some team will likely take a flier on a 25 year-old LHH 1B with pop even with his warts.
Get somethin’ while the gettin’ is still good. And before Allen begins his 7th minor league season.

Shinons

I’m just glad to hear Kenny talking about the bullpen in ways other than how it’s been with our gaping holes in the past: “We’ll give a couple guys a chance to win the spot,” aka, “We’ve got some shit we’ll fling against that there wall, and we’ll see what sticks.” I’m interpreting his comments more as Soriano, Downs, and Wood not being worth what they’re going to go for, and rightfully so. Wood sucks, Downs is Type A, and Soriano is electric but an injury hazard.
I don’t see any reason in the world we’d keep Viciedo around at this point, so hopefully he could bring in someone decent. Then there are plenty of value guys still around in the free agency.

evenyoudorn

The first two passes, I read “a back-end starter and a couple of adorable relievers,” and was expecting some kind of lolcat gag on the other side of the link.
Thank you for not doing that.

fustercluck

Even an adorable reliever can’t protect a lead from the bullpen.
lolcat humor fisked

fustercluck

opportunity missed
IM N UR BLOG
FISKING UR JOKES

winningugly

I can corroborate JR’s nomn-involvement on Tuesday night PK negotiations. He and Einhorn were at a party on Disney property, nowhere around PK.

buford

From a 12-5-10 Tribune column by Van Dyke:
“… One person very close to negotiations said pitcher Edwin Jackson was never discussed in a trade for Dunn at July’s trade deadline. “The Sox got him to keep,” said the source.”
FWIW

buford

After all this time, you would think that background on this matter would have surfaced and from a credible source.
As far as Van Dyke, I’m giving him credit that his hearing is better than his analysis.

brettdavis

Not sure how reliable it is, but if you watched The Club on MLB Network, and this was aired after the deadline had passed, KW said he didn’t really like the idea of trading Edwin Jackson for a bat, because he thought the Sox needed pitching at that point, and he traded Daniel Hudson for that reason. Which, if even half believable, lends credence to the fact that KW and the Sox thought a good stretch run out of Jackson would put the Sox in the playoffs.