Paul Konerko will take a month to decide if he wants to play in 2014
BY TONI GINNETTI September 27, 2013 11:30PM
Updated: October 29, 2013 6:17AM
Paul Konerko knew he was going to take some time after this season to weigh his options for 2014, he just didn’t realize what kind of season 2013 would turn out to be.
‘‘You come in, you have a way you want to work and a vision of how the season is going to go,’’ Konerko said Friday. ‘‘Pretty much all of that was destroyed as the season went [down] piece by piece. But one of the things I did want to do, no matter how the season was going to turn out, was to go home after it and take a month off and get away from it. I didn’t know what I’d be getting away from, but that was definitely something I wanted to do.’’
If he does choose to return, the 15-year Sox veteran and last remaining member of the 2005 World Series champions said he already knows the 2014 season would be his last.
‘‘Every season I’ve played before this, and when I say every season I mean since I was like 7, I knew I would play the next year,’’ he said. ‘‘I feel like if I do play, the one thing I can [say] with any substance probably would be that if I do play next year, that will probably be it. So that’s really what it boils down to. I know the answer to that.’’
Konerko said he will weigh his family’s desires, his physical and mental outlook and how he might fit in with the team.
General manager Rick Hahn seems ready to offer Konerko latitude.
‘‘We’ll sit down with Paulie and have a direct conversation with him face-to-face about what he wants and how he’s feeling and what he hopes to accomplish next year, as well as what the team’s going to look like and how he could potentially fit and what the plan would be going forward,’’ Hahn said.
Would Konerko be comfortable in a reserve role?
‘‘The only thing I can say on that would be the only place I could do that would be here because my family likes it here, my kids love it here, it’s a great place to be in the summer,’’ Konerko said.
He knows it would mean changing the expectations he puts on himself and instead becoming more of a mentor.
‘‘I’m always holding myself to the standard that I’ve set, as far as the production I’ve had and what I’ve done. It’s probably not fair to myself to do that. I’m going to have to come to grips that if I do play, I’ve got to kind of relax on that a little bit and know if I come back here, production can be done in a lot of different ways.
‘‘It’s not always just driving in runs and hitting home runs. I’ve got to be better, if I’m going to come back, at working with the young guys. I think I could do it, but I would definitely have to change some of my ways.’’
The younger players say Konerko already has excelled in that role.
‘‘He has that captain label for a reason,’’ closer Addison Reed said. ‘‘Just to have his presence in the locker room is awesome. Every team could learn from a guy like him and would benefit from having a guy like him in the clubhouse.’’
NOTE: General manager Rick Hahn has given manager Robin Ventura a vote of confidence but not his coaching staff.
‘‘I think at the end of the day, all of us, myself included, are evaluated based upon the players’ performances,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘As someone who puts the players in the uniform, as a coach, the one who tries to put them in a position to succeed, ultimately there needs to be accountability.’’