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updated: 12/7/2010 9:33 PM

Hopes dim for Sox, Konerko

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  • The White Sox' hopes of Paul Konerko returning to the lineup next season took a hit Tuesday at the winter meetings.

    The White Sox' hopes of Paul Konerko returning to the lineup next season took a hit Tuesday at the winter meetings.
    Associated Press


ORLANDO, Fla. -- White Sox general manager Kenny Williams sounded ready to move on Tuesday.

That meant moving away from first baseman Paul Konerko and preparing to enact his Plan B for replacing the longtime Sox star and fan favorite.

Asked where talks stood Monday evening, Williams repeated the question.

"Where do they stand? Still," he said. "And unfortunately, I was very hopeful coming down here. I'm less hopeful now. I was hoping it wouldn't really come to us getting serious with our other options, but we have no choice at this point."

Reporters corralled Konerko's agent, Craig Landis, earlier in the day in the lobby of the winter-meetings hotel. Landis did not wish to be quoted, but he relayed his thoughts that talks were ongoing but that nothing was imminent and that no announcement of a signing would be made Tuesday.

Williams, who seemed upbeat Monday, said Tuesday that he was preparing to meet with "other guys' representatives Tuesday night, and it's with the mind-set to try to get a deal done."

That doesn't mean it was easy to seriously consider parting with Konerko, but Williams said he understood it was part of the business.

"No, we knew it was a possibility," he said. "Again, it's the business of baseball and you take your cuts. And try to position yourself best to get things done.

"If we hadn't taken those steps to try to maneuver some things (other players taking less money upfront) around and look for different revenue streams, we wouldn't even been in the position to make an offer that we consider respectable.

"But moving forward, what this may afford us is the ability to do a couple of other things along with (filling the position). The assumption this will ultimately be worse is incorrect. because we still have a chance to put a real good player in the position and do some other things."

The door was still open for a Konerko comeback, and that was fine with Williams, too.

"I want the man back," he said. "I want the player back, and I want the man back. We all do. Sometimes you don't always get what you want. It's just the business of baseball. Sometimes things don't work out, and you have to be prepared for it and have a contingency plan."

That said, Williams also seemed ready to face the public reaction.

"I don't much care what the perception is of how we have to do business, because we have to try to put the best team on the field," he said. "We will be measured ultimately with how the team performs.

"I'll do everything in my power to make sure people understand that Paul makes his own decisions for his own reasons and they've got to be respected. He's given Chicago everything we have the right to expect. There will be no hard feelings on this end. This is baseball."

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