Re-signing two Sox means a good deal

January, 22, 2011
1/22/11
9:09
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was the focal point of a small seminar at SoxFest on Saturday that included Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski.

Television broadcaster Hawk Harrelson started the session by thanking Reinsdorf for bringing back two of the last remnants of the 2005 World Championship team, and also for giving the marketing department the new slogan, “We’re all in.”

Reinsdorf provided one key to getting Konerko’s deal done by signing off on a third year in what ended up being a $37.5 million contract.

“We always wanted him back,” Reinsdorf said. I was really not involved until we got to the length of the contract.”

Konerko, who signed the contract on Dec. 8, said his return wasn’t a given when negotiations began.

“It was a little bit different than the 2005 contract talks,” Konerko said. “This time, nothing was said until that Monday [Dec. 6]. The next 40 hours were intense as to whether or not it was going to happen or not happen. Once you get to a breaking point, that’s the only way you get to a deal deadline.”

Pierzysnki’s story was a bit different. The veteran catcher was on the verge of signing a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers before making a deal to return to the White Sox.

“Jerry and I talked at the end of last season,” Pierzynski said. “He said that we should talk if I get close to going somewhere else. I finally did call him and tell him I was close to becoming an L.A. Dodger. He called [assistant general manager] Rick [Hahn] and had him get in touch with my agent and before we knew it, I agreed to come back.”

Pierzynski, who signed a two-year, $8-million contract, agreed to take $2 million in the first year and $6 million in 2012 in order for the White Sox to have more flexibility to sign other free agents.

“I’ll take the credit for backloading my contract so the Sox could sign Paul,” Pierzynski said.

The comment brought laughter from the crowd and a smile to Konerko’s face.

Reinsdorf said the recent White Sox teams remind him of the team that he watched when he was growing up -- the old Brooklyn Dodgers.

“They’re very similar. Everyone works well together and gets along,” Reinsdorf said, before joking. “But no one likes A.J.”

The trio agreed on one thing -- the Chicago Bears will beat the Green Bay Packers in Sunday’s NFC Championship game.

Reinsdorf said although the two teams are both used to playing in cold weather, Green Bay’s running game might not be good enough. Konerko likes the Bears by a field goal and Pierzynski said when it comes down to it, the Bears will find a way to win.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
10 1.88 122 110
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Abreu .294
HRJ. Abreu 30
RBIJ. Abreu 79
RJ. Abreu 54
OPSJ. Abreu .963
ERAC. Sale 1.88
SOC. Sale 122