Paul Konerko has only officially been the team captain since 2006, but has been dominating the locker room in non-dominant fashion for at least a year longer. His demure and honest post-game interviews, ceaseless personal accountability, slavish devotion to routine and labor, and perhaps most memorably, public self-flagellation have been such steady elements of White Sox culture that part of processing his retirement has been imagining a non-Konerko leadership. Compared to the Konerkocracy, every clubhouse seems like Brohio. Should we go to Brohio? It's the question of a generation.
Now it looks more like they can just replicate the same vibe by committee. Abreu, who came to Chicago a complete unknown save for the iridescent suit he wore to his contract signing, has earned the Konerko seal of approval for his labor-intensive approach, and is ready, willing and able--quietly and unobtrusively, of course--to take up the mantle.
With Abreu in tow, whose favorite activities seem to center around "time with the wife' and exorbitant special contract requests include "singing the national anthem," the Sox have the man to humbly and unassumingly guide them through the next half-decade. He smoothly compliments Sale, who already had Disconcerting Self-Flagellation all well and covered.
Konerko roster spot quips aside--we really have to recalculate this Abreu guy's value if he requires a personal mentor on the 25-man--but the affirmation of "I thank God for the opportunity to have him on the team," is not a light one. As ready as I was for a shift from a White Sox aesthetic that lacked the success to justify its self-seriousness, the White Sox continue to come the closest to a seemingly impossible feat in modern-day professional sports: maintaining an identity.
For something completely different
Dovetailing off a point made in yesterday's podcast, Tyler Flowers is attracting attention to himself to deflect attention from himself later. After homering twice in almost absurdly dramatic fashion Monday night, Flowers has dragged his batting line up to .247/.304/.402, for a 96 wRC+. We do well to not assess a player's value at what's likely to be his absolute high point of the month, but with 19 games left and two other catchers on the roster, he's in all likelihood going to end the season with a batting line that doesn't call out for immediate help.
Rick Hahn, while sitting atop a pile of freed up cash for 2015, expressed the White Sox attack plan thusly:
Basically, if you want fun, big-ticket signings, the Sox need to be able to free themselves of waste-of-time errands like 'finding a not-terrible catcher' along with 'paying for a closer' (which they might have to do) and 'finding two starters' which they likely hope to mitigate with Carlos Rodon. There are a ton of red flags with Flowers' performance, and we've discussed them, but the Sox have a long list of to-do items, and finding an upgrade at catcher is looking increasingly optional.