As we've already gone over here this winter, while plenty of people in a White Sox uniform these days are talking about improving their individual performances in 2012 and saying that the White Sox could surprise this year, Paul Konerko doesn't have a whole lot of room in his life for bullshit.
No, the Captain is soon to be 36-years old and will be starting his 16th MLB season in a little over a month from now. The man just doesn't have the time to blow smoke up anybody's ass, though he did sound about as optimistic as he's can considering what surrounds him.
Konerko addressed the media for about 20 minutes on Tuesday, and there was one quote that will probably stand out to most people.
“I hope I don’t throw anybody off with this, but this can be a very successful year without making the playoffs,” he said.
Paulie then thought to himself "I could always get traded in July!" Or at least that's what I'm going to pretend he said and reporters just didn't hear it.
Konerko would expand on what he meant by that quote as well.
“I think you can start building something now. Teams the last handful of years, it’s been try real hard to win and you fail then come back next year and try again from a totally different angle. I think what is happening here is they’re trying to build something that’s a little more sustainable. My point is, if we go out there and compete this year and it doesn’t happen that you see this with some other teams in the league that they kind of pick up the next year with that momentum that they built from the year before. That’s why I said it could be successful. I’m not conceding anything. In today’s game, there’s way too many teams especially now there’s another wild card spot.’’
“There’s a lot of ‘ifs,’ 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.’’
In other words, 2012 is a transition year. While Konerko doesn't rule out the possibility of a playoff run, he also makes it clear that there are more important things for the organization in 2012 than getting to the playoffs. At this point it's more about putting something together to sustain success, rather than making one huge
Keep in mind this is coming from a guy who turns 36 next week and doesn't have a whole lot left in the tank. His career may be over by the time the White Sox are truly ready to be a contender again, so Konerko's words shouldn't be taken lightly.
It might not be the most appealing option heading into a season, but it's the only real option we have.